Welcome to Summer: Where “Stick to Sports” has no place to hide.

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By Will Stevenson

Oh Summer, why doth thou forsake thee? If I were into baseball as I once was, then the sports calendar wouldn’t be a bottomless pit full of coach talk hypothetical lists. What I have noticed during the “off-season” is sports fans grasp for anything to talk about, and when the major sports aren’t on television, their true colors come raining down. Opinions, or reactions have used to be marred back in the day before social media. Even if your co-worker told you Wilt Chamberlain is the greatest player of all-time, you may counter with Bill Russell, and then that would be the end of it. Now, that conversation can and will be had around a million times a day, every day. The comment section has become America’s fine dining establishment where anyone can go to be heard. Never mind the fact there are hired commentators for every website and Facebook as well. Nevertheless, we are drawn to any story that can give us substance, and if it doesn’t have any, we will hypothetically make something interesting out of it.

The summer months will now be known for domestic violence allegations, NBA Free Agency, NFL Minicamps, draft stock, front office movement and League posturing for the upcoming seasons. The News Cycle comes and goes so quickly, it is hard to keep up with what is new news, and what is old news. Remember the OJ Simpson coverage? Ezekiel Elliott? The continuous Kyrie and Melo trade rumors. Remember when Phil Jackson left the Knicks? How about the Mayweather/McGregor pre-fight world tour? Lavar Ball? Almost every one of these stories has been covered in the past month or two, or even a few weeks ago, but now they are old news. The current media conversation revolves around Colin Kaepernick, Josh Rosen, NBA trade rumors and the obligatory “Top ‘insert number’ list” for the sports we love.

The ‘off-season’ sports cycle brings about something different inside the sports fan: Real Feelings. Each topic in the above paragraph brings out conversations that most are not comfortable with in an open forum. All you have to do is click on a Colin Kaepernick link to see what America thinks as a whole on the topic. No longer are “X’s and O’s” the end all be all to our sports allegiances. During the season we will all watch the Redzone Channel, pregame shows, follow fantasy leagues and forget all about what Ray Lewis and Shannon Sharpe were debating because there is now a box score to look at. During the summer months, there is no place for “Stick to Sports” to hide. Honestly, there are other things we could pay attention to, but what fun would that be? I don’t mind a conversation on any of these topics, nor do I mind to read up on the many debates of my fellow Bookers and Tweeters. I have one question: Are we evolving through these topics, or do we just want to be right? I always wonder what the agenda is of a post about Lavar Ball, or a “Kaepernick is not being blackballed” thread. I wonder if people even care what is going on, or is there only goal to ruffle feathers, and are they being paid to do it? From what I have witnessed, more people have equipped themselves with knowledge on these topics, while others continue to say the same old ignorance.

Not only have the commentators been open to the non-sports topics, the media has jumped into the pot as well. No longer do fans have to sit around and wonder if the people they see on camera feel the same way they feel. More and more commentators are freely putting their stamp on their message about topics that go on outside the realms of actual game-play. I enjoy it, even Will Cain. There can’t be a Ray Lewis without a Shannon Sharpe. There can’t be a Will Cain without a Bomani Jones. For my selfish reasons, I want all the opinions to be out there, running rampant as closeted PCers race to find a boring monologue to post in response.

It is weird how the sports world is portrayed against the entertainment world. Many of us are old enough to remember Beavis & Butthead, SouthPark and StickDeath.com, but somehow a player flipping a bat after a homerun, or a player high-stepping into the endzone is cause for uproar. More people are tuning in to politics, but do not want politics near their sports.

Maybe it will never change. Maybe those who post things will never concede to racism in sports, college athletics being a non-competitive industry, or the need to treat athletes as humans like us. Maybe people still believe marijuana should never be used, but Oxycontin is just fine. Who knows. All I know is I love the summer months, because Stick to Sports has no place to hide.

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Bulls Drama

Tay Holloway

The Chicago Bulls this season have been full of finger pointing and drama from the front office to the last man on the bench. This is taking effect on the players and how they play as well as putting a rift in between the front office, players and coaches. I for certain cant say I didn’t see this coming. I have played sports and I can tell you that when you take out something that was working and try to force your hand to make something else work, it will not always play in your favor and it will blow up in your face at some point.

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When DeWayne Wade and Jimmy Butler publically scolded their younger teammates in the media it started a media worldwind around the locker room. They had questions if the guys where getting along and if they were actaully right about players not caring if they won or lost games. The bulls were just embarrassed on national television and to the veterans some players seemed to not care. I do believe not all players wear their emotions on their sleve but you can’t just say some guys don’t care unless they come out and say that themselves. This caused Rajon Rondo to go to instagream and express his displeasure with Butler and wade calling out people in the media after a game. Then this caused Wade to respond on instagram as well with a post of his own and both post were around leadership.

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In basketball, if you are a veteran and a leader of the team you have high expectations and in return the younger players look up to you to set a example.  You have to set the tone in practice and in games. You cant take days off and think everyone is going to be cool with it while they are working hard to make the team better. This is another issue that has arisen for this team because Wade does not practice a lot. I know he is a older player and needs his rest and have to take extra care of his body but you can’t lead if yo if don’t practice. How can you build chemistry with the guys to get better on the court? being this is your first season in a bulls uniform.

I also blame the front office of Gar Foreman and John Paxton. These two are the master minds behind the yes men that are coaches and the reason why the best coach the Bulls have had since Phil Jackson is now coaching in Minnesota. They don’t likepeople who have a voice and express their concerns when things are not going correct. They can barley recognize talent to build a team. They hand picked Fred Hoiberg to be the coach because he is a yes man and will do what they say and play the brand of loser basketball they want to have. They are so cheap that they don’t want to pay anyone money to bring in some type of talent to help push them to be a contender to knock off the Cavs in the east. It appears that they are content with just making the playoffs or not making it all. They have flirted with the chance of trading Jimmy Butler numerous times but that would be stupid because he is their best player and best defender on the team so that sends a message that you are tanking to attempt to get a better draft choice and take the long road at building a winner.

They did trade Rose, which I thought was a good move for the team and they did not resign Noah, which was not surprise to me at all. They wanted to get guys who can stay healthy and actually play some games. They didn’t replace them with talent but just some mediocre guys who are just happy to still be in the league. The front office has to change but the Bulls owner has always been known to build thru the draft and not pay anyone. Lets not forget they didn’t pay Jordan until his last few season with the team and he made majority of his money off his shoe deal and movies.

 

I dont see this getting better for the Bulls because there are reports that the front office have been spying on the guys in the locker room which is just horrible and unprofessional. I  can see this season going down as one of the worst drama wise and someone needs to stand up and hit reset if they want a chance at have some sort of dignified season.

 

Should College Student Athletes Get Paid?

 

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Just let that question sink in for a minute. I also want you to imagine you grew up as a poor to middle class kid, and you knew that college wasn’t affordable at a young age. Then during high school because you’re a great athlete you were offered a full ride scholarship. Now your happy and can pursue your dreams. Now, imagine you’re at school hungry because you don’t have enough money to get food.

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Remember in 2014 NCAA Basketball championship game that UCONN men’s team won. Shabazz Napier was talking to the world about how excited he was to be on a winning team, then he dropped the ball on how he was hungry all the time because he didn’t have enough money to cover food. Well shortly after that speech the NCAA agreed on that any athlete scholarship or walk on will have unlimited meals. It took one speech in front of millions of people watching to make that change. Yes, this is great for division one athletes all over the United States, but what if Napier never told the world he was going to bed hungry on live television?

Over the years, I have discussed with people should student athletes get paid? Everyone I had spoken to said Yes. I have to agree with who I spoke to. Universities, especially big ones, make millions of dollars off players. What do players get? Food and shelter. (Some will say that is all they need). That is where you are wrong. People need more than food and shelter, they need grooming supplies, toilet paper, clothes, shoes and other things for everyday life. How are athletes supposed to get any of this if they are at school full-time and always at practice? This is why they need to get paid. I am not talking about making them rich but give them enough to get by.

The Universities should be able to give athletes a weekly or bi-weekly allowance to these kids. Put the money on some type of bank or debit card. Give them a set amount and if the student spends it all in that day that is on them. They should talk to a local store, Wal-Mart or gas station that is near the school to allow the students to shop there using this card. This way students and their parents know their child can provide for themselves. This would help stop some of the shady stuff that Universities do to recruit a kid to their school.

Just think about this, would you be able to send money to your kid every time they need something? Or would you feel better knowing that they are taken care for everything? The NCAA needs to change something for these athletes or they will keep going through this never-ending cycle for a long time.

My Life With Sports

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If I didn’t have sports in my life I don’t know what I would do. When I was a kid, I lived in not so great neighborhood. I was a very active as a kid always playing outside. My very first sport I played was soccer for the YMCA. I used to play goalie most of the time. I decided to quit because I got tired of people kicking me. After that I played softball forever, it seemed like. When I got older I added basketball and volleyball as well. There were times I had to go from indoor softball practice to go to basketball practice or, leave a volleyball game to go to a softball game. I stayed busy playing sports all the way up to high school.

Sports was bonding time for me and my family. My mom taught me everything I know about sports. She taught me all the rules to baseball, basketball and football. She practiced catch with me, made sure my form to shoot, throw or swing was perfect. She took me to my very first St. Louis Cardinals and Rams game. Now that I am an adult we still will watch a game or talk about sports. This year I was lucky enough to join my mom to Jupiter, FL. There we went to go see the Cardinals Spring Training game. She has never been to one, so this trip was even more memorable not just because I was with her, but, because I was there to see how much she enjoyed the games.

I also bonded with my grandparents through sports. When I was a kid, my grandparents were season ticket holders for Southwest Missouri State (now it is called Missouri State) basketball games men and women. I used to go with them all the time to games and we went to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. My grandparents would also take me to Southwest Missouri St football games too. My grandparents and I could sit there and talk sports for hours. My grandma loved Peyton Manning so, of course, his name would be thrown into the conversation. I can still hear my grandpa telling me that Phillip Rivers was a cry baby. I used to laugh when he would talk bad about players. They were also very interested in how my teams were doing.

Lastly, I don’t know if I would have met fiancé without sports. We met each other during the 2011 NBA Championship round. This is when the Dallas Mavs was playing the Miami Heat. My fiancé took me to my first Dallas Cowboys game. I took him to his first MLB game. He taught me to play fantasy football. We can talk about sports all day if you allow us. We both have that competitive nature because we used to play sports when we are younger. When one of my teams plays his there is a lot of trash talk going on in our house.

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In conclusion, sports has helped me build and keep relationships my whole life. Sports has also taught me never to give up. Just because you may get knocked down doesn’t mean you failed, it means next time come back even better than you did before.

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Sore Losers

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What is a sore loser? A sore loser is a person that can’t accept the fact that their team lost. Instead of facing the music they create some great excuse on why they lost. We all have talked to, read comments or personally know a sore loser.

The very first sore loser excuse blames the refs. The blame refs excuse is the most used excuses out there being used by sore losers. Some people really think the refs were paid under the table or they like the other team more.

Stop the madness people, you all can’t be serious, but they are. How does one come up with such crazy accusations? How can they prove this theory? The answer is they can’t prove nothing. It would be easier to say my team blew it and move on. Instead, we get an essay on how the refs helped.

Another excuse a sore loser uses they cheated. Not every team is the Patriots and Tom Brady. When sore losers explain to me how a team cheats I sit there trying to hold back laughter. There are ones that are really serious with their claims. They will make a video, first you will get what you are seeing and then they will say look at this. Don’t forget some will circle where they think the cheating happened. Here is a video if you don’t believe me, here is an example

This man explains that the Patriots got more time on the clock versus the Steelers. I can’t tell you how many people shared this. The proof does look credible in this particular video, but not in the majority of them.

Last but not least the greatest excuse sore losers use is conspiracy theories. Yes, you read that right conspiracy theories. These sore losers who faithfully will watch sports and afterwards are convinced that all games are fixed. The NFL, NBA, MLB and other major sports are not the WWE. They do not know the outcome of the game. They will try to convince you with examples like why the Browns or Eagles don’t have any rings or why the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. They won’t explain how the team as a whole is bad but they will tell in a forever long conversation how a certain league is fixed.

In conclusion, if you read this and you have said I do that to any of these excuses. There is a good chance you’re a sore loser too. Do us (the logical fans) a favor. Stop with all the excuses, we don’t believe you.

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