Category Archives: Voices from the Crowd

Voices from the Crowd – Jayden Barr: Rugby Starr

Jayden Barr

Contributing Writer

 

It is my first year playing rugby at Wooster and my fifth year playing overall, as I played during high school. As a first-year student, finding out that Wooster had a rugby club made me very excited to join and extend my rugby career. I started playing rugby during high school with the Brunswick Valkyries, a club team in Brunswick, OH. Not only did I have no experience with the game, but I had no idea rugby was even a sport until my friend dragged me to a practice. I was so lost and confused throughout the entire first practice. However, the energy of the players and how they welcomed me as family kept me coming back.

Once I started to understand the game, I fell in love with rugby. I spent countless hours outside of practice, working with my high school coaches in one-on-one training sessions and joining a personal training company called NST to help me improve my skills and be more explosive on the field. I put in a lot of work in order to get where I am today. Unfortunately, during my senior year of high school, I played through terrible shoulder and neck pain. After my difficult senior season, I decided that my body needed me to stop playing the sport I loved so much, despite my previous plan to continue my rugby career at a very well-known school with other members of my graduating class. However, I noticed posters all over campus about a rugby club informational meeting during the first week of classes at Wooster. As a first-year student, I was unaware that there was even a rugby club at Wooster. Even though I was injured, I went to the meeting to get to know the players and make friends. Once I went to the meeting I couldn’t walk away and not play because I love rugby too much, so I joined the team. As soon as the meeting was over I called my parents to tell them I was going to join the team and two days later I went home to grab my cleats. I am so happy that I ended up joining. I know that I would have regretted it if I hadn’t. The Wooster rugby roaches, Stephanie and Skylar Snoeberger, are amazing and I am so thankful that they are our coaches. 

Starting the season was very tough because most of the team had never picked up a rugby ball before. The coaches were super patient with all the new players, and knowing what it was like to learn the game late, I took time to make sure the players felt comfortable and knew they weren’t alone. Our first game against Baldwin Wallace was a very tough and unfortunate loss. However, from that point moving forward, the team took initiative to get better. Watching film and having our amazing coaches Stephanie and Skylar Snoeberger to guide us helped us improve dramatically, as well as the determination in each one of my teammates.  

Rugby is a team sport and every single one of my teammates is an amazing athlete that brings something new to the field that is necessary to keep going. I personally saw such a growth from the team which struck me to push myself even harder. The Wooster women’s rugby club grew from not knowing how to pass a ball on the first day of practice to being tied for first place with the team that beat us. From the first game we fought long and hard to beat every team we faced. I am so proud of the Wooster Rugby team. I am also proud to announce that I received the rookie of the year award for the 15s season. Each player has improved and grew together. I cannot wait for the upcoming spring 7s season with my new rugby family.

The rugby club team finished its fall season with an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 6. Congratulations on a great season and good luck preparing for the spring season! 

Voices from the Crowd: Golden Goal on Black and Gold

Lillian Miller

Contributing Writer

 

We all know that Wooster loves its traditions, and Black and Gold Weekend is the culmination of all of them. The bagpipers lead the football team down the hill before their game; alumni communities meet up to share old stories; the orchestra, marching band and a cappella groups perform for crowds. All these important traditions unite the Wooster community in what feels so familiar to all those who have walked back from the library at two in the morning during their time here at Wooster. 

However, this is the first time I have been able to truly experience this atmosphere. I am a senior on the women’s soccer team and every Saturday during our season we have a game during Black and Gold Weekend. For the past few years, we have had away games. My first year, we were away at DePauw, my sophomore year we were at Wittenberg and my junior year we didn’t have a season due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

This year though, we not only had a home game on Black and Gold Weekend, but we had a double header with the men’s soccer team and it was our Senior Day. We don’t always get the greatest turnouts to our games, but this past weekend our stands were packed and overflowed into the grass and parking lot surrounding the field. This season, having people at our games has given us a dose of long-awaited energy, but having teammates who graduated my first-year at Wooster and teammates who just graduated last year cheer on our team on Senior Day was overwhelmingly refreshing and motivating. The positive and supportive presence that these alumni brought to our game only made our team want to push harder, to play better and to win even more. 

After the regular 90-minute game, we were tied 2-2 and were sent into overtime, where the first goal wins. It’s a pretty intimidating concept—one mistake and the game is over. Three minutes into the first overtime period, we scored. Our team stormed the field celebrating while the fans cheered us on. Any overtime win is special, but to be able to win on our home field with a huge crowd of family, friends, alumni and past teammates made it all the more exciting. 

At its heart, Wooster is a community, and that’s why finally experiencing a Black and Gold Weekend game and win at home was so special to me and my teammates. Be sure to catch our next home game on Oct. 9 at 1:00 p.m. against Ohio Wesleyan!

VOICES FROM THE CROWD “Heat” Take: The Miami Heat are going to the Finals

By David Schulz

“James catches, puts up a three! Won’t go, rebound Bosh, back out to Allen, his three-pointer. Bang! Tie game with five seconds remaining ! ” Remember that? Game six of the 2013 NBA finals. It’s time to bring the Heat back there.

The Miami Heat are going to the finals this year, plain and simple. They are the number two seed in the Eastern Conference right now, and it starts with the team president: Pat Riley. Pat Riley has always been about establishing a no-nonsense, no-loadmanagement, no-fluff culture. He works every day in making sure that the organization is running at its peak and only wants people who feel the same way under the team.

Hassan Whiteside — remember him? The highest-paid player on the Heat? His feelings were hurt from lack of minutes, and he became an expensive lackadaisical mess. Well, that “nonsense” and character is not tolerated by the culture Pat Riley wants to maintain. He’s gone. The Heat have a dedicated, hard-working Head Coach in Erik Spoelstra. The experience of coaching stars such as Dwayne Wade and LeBron James to championships is one impressive resume in itself. But that was years ago. Yet his energy and work ethic is just as notable as it was; he has the energy of a puppy on six Red Bulls, but the wisdom of the wisest owl.

Under Pat Riley, The Heat have Bam Adebayo, who not only averages 16 points-per-game and 10 rebounds, but SLAMS that basketball down the rim as if every dunk is his last. The Heat refers to it as a “Bam Slam” (Flintstones reference). He leaves everything on the court every night. Tyler Herro, known by the Heat as the man with the “Herro Ball,” can literally sink every clutch-three point buzzerbeating shot necessary. Did I mention it’s his first year in the NBA? Duncan Robinson — it’s his first season too, and in the 2019-20 season, he is 43 percent from the three-point line, with J.J. Redick being the only one ahead of him. It doesn’t stop there. The Heat have a potential rookie of the year in Kendrick Nunn. It’s not uncommon to see NBA teams up-and-coming with a bunch of young talent. But the Heat have a leader, who also fits right into this culture the Miami Heat are all about: Jimmy Butler. Butler is hungry for a title, and he finally has found the team for him in Miami.

The NBA is different now; gone are the days of it being the “Warriors Invitational.” And I know what you, reader are thinking right now: “There’s no way they can get past the Bucks!” “There are a lot of teams that will get the piece they need to be championship contenders by the trade deadline.” Let’s go through the Eastern Conference right now. The Milwaukee Bucks, an awe-inspiring team led by Giannis Antekounmpo. The last time the Bucks met the Heat, the Heat won in OT led by Goran Dragic with 26 points. Oh, right, I forgot to mention Dragic! The Heat are just that stacked this year. Historically the Bucks’ problem has been everything needs to flow through Giannis. If Giannis has a bad night, the team has a bad night. Apply that equation to the playoffs last year, Giannis was stopped and had no supporting cast to help.

This year, to the Buck’s credit, Brook Lopez has finally stepped up to the plate, giving Giannis a wing-man to support him on the offensive end. That’s great, but including Goran Dragic, I listed five sensational Heat players. Considering the notion that five is greater than two, I think it’s safe to say the Bucks will burn from the fire the Heat radiates on the court. Jokes aside, the Heat is really a team to look at this season.

Everyone always asks me why I’m a Heat fan if I’m from the Bay Area. “Why aren’t you a Warriors fan? Dub Nation bro!”, they say. Don’t even give me that toxic ideology. And for the record, I was a Heat fan since I was five years old. So no, I’m not a “bandwagon” from the “Big 3” era. Anything can happen. So when you watch game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals and witness this Miami team winning the finals, don’t bother texting me unless you want a thousand “I told you so’s” back.

VOICES FROM THE CROWD : Cheating is Ruining College Football

Ian Ricoy

Sports Editor

No one likes cheaters in sports. The whole point is to see who would win given that each team has a relatively equal access to resources. There has been a lot of debate around college players getting paid (or lack thereof), even at Wooster’s own Philosophy Roundtables on Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. every week in Scovel 105. However, I want to make something clear. I am okay with college athletes getting paid for their abilities on top of their scholarships and living stipends. How they get paid is for another “Voices from the Crowd.” I recommend reading Max Engel’s ’21 article from Oct. 2019. The basic problem in these past few years of college football is that some schools cheat by paying their players, thereby having an unfair advantage when recruiting high school players, and others do not. If you do not believe some universities are paying their athletes, despite overwhelming evidence, then this article is not going to be for you. I’m not going to dive into defending this premise. I will first outline the state of college football today.

There have been eight different national champions in the last 14 years. Only three schools, Auburn, Florida State and Ohio State have not won multiple titles in this time frame. In ten of those 14 years, the South Eastern Conference (SEC), the conference most notorious for cheating, has won the national title. There was only one year (2014) where the SEC did not have a team in the national title game. Since 2009, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has as many national championships (five) than he has home losses at Alabama. Since 2012, Ohio State has never lost more than two games and has one national title. Since 2009, Oklahoma has won seven Big Twelve Conference titles. Since 2009, there has been one Atlantic Coast Conference champion not named Clemson or Florida State. Only two teams in history have gone 15-0 and they were the two national champions in the last two years. There are only four head coaches who have won national titles still coaching (not counting Les Miles or Mac Brown who came out of retirement last year).

One might ask: “Ian, how many national champions should there be in a time span?” Well, between 1986 and 1999 (14 years) there were 10 different national champions including Colorado’s, Florida’s and Florida State’s firsts. Never has there been such a small cluster of absolutely dominant teams in college football for such an extended period of time. The heart of the issue comes down to an uneven playing field. The problem is that some schools cheat (and get away with it) while other schools follow the rules and get punished. Let’s look at Chris Petersen’s tenure at Boise State and Washington. Petersen is a legendary coach who took Boise State (BSU) from a Division I-AA program, to beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in 2007 and multiple undefeated seasons. He put Boise State on the map of college football and if you think a tiny school in Idaho has the funds to compete with Alabama and Oklahoma, you better be a BSU booster. This year, he abruptly retired as the head coach of Washington with no warning. Petersen told ESPN, “You worked your whole life to get there. I didn’t really appreciate the week, I didn’t appreciate the game like I need to as a kid growing up looking at that game,” referring to Washington’s Rose Bowl appearance last year. I have no proof, but I would venture to say that the stress of competing with schools who pay their players got to him. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh put it more matter-of-fact-ly in an interview with John U. Bacon saying, “It’s hard to beat the cheaters.”

The cheaters win and the rule followers get punished. There are professionals playing against amateurs. This is the reality of modern college football and as fan, I think it’s terrible for the sport and the players. I just want the NCAA to either enforce its rules or change the rules quickly to allow schools to pay their players already. I will always watch college football and will continue to root for my Michigan Wolverines, but it is getting hard. Michigan prides itself on integrity. It never raised its cost of living stipends abruptly, paid their players under the table and holds their players to a high academic standard. But this reverence for the rules comes at the cost of having not won a Big Ten title since 2004. I can’t say whether or not Michigan should cheat to win, I just want the NCAA to make up its mind.

Voices From the Crowd – Small collegiate sports deserve equal resources

Paul Lance

Contributing Writer

I’m sure most of us either watched our very own football team hand a beat down to the visiting Beavers of Bluffton University or enjoyed watching our favorite Division-I teams play all day Saturday. Whoever we watched, it was clear that college football is finally back. With the arrival of college football, it also sparks the return of other fall sports such as cross country, golf, volleyball, field hockey and more. With a wide variety of sports being offered at various colleges across the nation, it becomes clear that scheduling is a huge conflict for any athletic department. This past Saturday, Sep. 7, at nearby Kent State University, a scheduling conflict was exactly what arose. On Saturday morning, Temple University was slated to play No. 24 Maine University in a field hockey game. The game at the end of regulation was scoreless and thus was headed to overtime. 

The game, however, was cut short due to a fireworks display that had to be prepared before the noon kickoff of Kent State’s football game. The NCAA would rule the field hockey game as a scrimmage and not penalize the teams. Kent State students and other local university students went ballistic on social media over the decision. As someone who is not thoroughly up to date with all Title IX rules and regulations, the first thing that came to my mind was that this is indeed a violation of Title IX. To me it’s the university not giving a women’s team the same equal ability to compete in their sport as they are giving the men’s. 

Secondly, why are there fireworks for a noon kickoff game versus Kennesaw State University, a team who is Division-I, but compete in the Football Championship Subdivision. Kent State’s football team finished an abysmal 2-10 last year and sat in last place in the Mid American Conference Eastern Division. Maine field hockey, on the other hand, was ranked 24th in the nation heading into their contest with Temple. 

To add irony on top of the situation, the football game saw Kent State narrowly edge Kennesaw State 26-23 in — you guessed it — overtime. It just boggles my mind that in 2019 we still can’t find a way to let students have equal participation in their respective sports. 

As someone who wrestled in high school, I am quite frankly over the bigger sports like basketball and football dominating and receiving whatever accommodations they ask for because they “bring more money into the school.” So much for the right to play. We should be so far beyond something like this happening, yet here we are, still struggling to give teams the equal right to play the sport they love.

VOICES FROM THE CROWD: Antonio Brown is a distraction on any team

Antonio Brown, arguably the best wide-receiver in the NFL talent-wise, was traded to the Oakland Raiders in March after a long career of nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Raiders agreed to trade a 2019 third-round pick and a 2019 fifth-round pick to the Steelers in exchange for Brown. Although the Raiders won the trade in terms of gaining more talent, the Steelers definitely took a step in the right direction by trading Brown.

Brown, in recent seasons, has had a history of gaining social media attention and attention in general through making poor decisions. The first main incident happened when the former Steeler videotaped himself, his teammates and Head Coach Mike Tomlin in the locker room after their AFC Divisional round victory that sent them to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots. This was done completely intentionally by Brown and he made himself and his whole team look arrogant.

The video blew up on social media, painting the Steelers in a negative light and giving the Patriots even more motivation to beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots ended up winning the game in a blowout by a score of 36-17. If Antonio Brown had not recorded that video on Facebook Live, the Steelers vs. Patriots championship game might have been a whole lot different, and Brown’s reputation would not have been diminished like it was.

The video caused a distraction for the Steelers in the week leading to the game against the Patriots and it all resulted from the decision made by one player.

After that incident finally had boiled down and another season had gone by, the Steelers 2018-2019 offseason started with a shock after Brown was traded to the Raiders.

Shortly after the trade was announced, Steelers wide-receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster tweeted a photo of himself catching a pass against the Raiders and included the quote, “I’m ready” — Brown just happened to be in the background of the picture, too. Even though this does explain Brown’s beef with Smith-Schuster, it is no excuse for Brown’s childish behavior — no professional athlete should be behaving like this if they want to be considered “one of the best” or “the best.”

After that tweet from Smith-Schuster  that evoked frustration and jealousy from Brown, Brown shared an old direct message in which Smith-Schuster showed respect and admiration for Brown by reaching out to him in hopes of learning how to be a professional. Brown obviously wanted to make himself feel superior and expose Smith-Schuster’s early admirations; however, the post actually made Brown look like an even bigger jerk.

First off, the message violates Smith-Schuster’s privacy. Second, it actually is noteworthy that Smith-Schuster  had the courage to reach out to Brown in the first place to try to gain some insight on how to be a professional. Brown later deleted the post, likely after realizing it was something he should not have posted and because he quickly ended up publicly embarrassing himself.

Smith-Schuster has been open about his respect for Brown and even tweeted saying, “All I ever did was show that man love and respect from the moment I got to the league.”

Brown has already been a distraction as a member of the Oakland Raiders organization, yet the 2019-2020 season hasn’t even started — there are still four and a half months until the regular season begins.

It will be interesting to see how Brown contributes to the Raiders offense under a new quarterback and a new coach. Derek Carr has not been as strong of a quarterback as Ben Roethlisberger, but maybe having Brown on the team will change that. It will also be fascinating to see how much or how little drama Brown causes while he is on the Raiders.

Matt Olszewski, a Sports Editor for the Voice, can be reached for comment at MOlszewski21@wooster.edu.