2018 In Review-Part 1

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

Over the next couple of weeks we are going to look back on some of the top teams, players, coaches, storylines and more of the 2018 sports calendar year.

Today we bring you a sample of the topics and preliminary responses from SportsTalk co-host Keith Groller and me (we usually have more thoughts and debate on the show itself, which you can see live this Thursday at 7pm on RCN-TV).

1.  Clutch Play of the Year

Chris’ Pick:  Easton’s Naj-ee Adams

With the Red Rovers trailing late against Liberty, Adams fully extended to make an amazing catch on 3rd and long from deep in their own territory.  Adams then had the instincts to turn (dive, actually) forward to just surpass the first-down marker, keeping the drive alive en route to an amazing come-from-behind victory.

Keith’s Pick:  The Philly Special in the Super Bowl 

2.  Underrated Sports Personality of the Year

Chris’ Pick:  Bryan Geist

Northern Lehigh’s athletic director is always communicating news about his school district and has built a solid reputation by hosting big times sports events at one of the smallest schools in our coverage area.

Keith’s Pick:  Nationally, there is no such thing as an underrated sports personality because of all the sports-only channels and non-stop shows 24/7. Locally, I will go with Freedom football coach Jason Roeder, who has built the Patriots into a perennial power and this year broke down the stigma that Freedom can’t win the big one, by claiming the school’s first District 11 championship.

3.  Biggest Myth of the Year

Chris’ Pick:  That all media members hate catholic schools.  I can’t speak for other media outlets, but here’s a few facts from the past year:  The Bethlehem Catholic  football team was on RCN-TV more than any HS team;   Becahi & Central boys basketball were on more than any other pair of teams; Notre Dame football was on RCN-TV more than any other Colonial League team and all three schools were included in multiple features during this year on our “SportsTalk” show.

Keith’s Pick: That there’s parity in big-time sports when teams like the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots and Alabama continue to win championships or get very close almost every year.

4.  Biggest Sports Embarrassment

Chris’ Pick: ESPN continuing to include politics in their on-air conversations. Whether you agree with athletes or not, sports has always been about escape from the everyday issues and I hear more people complaining about the lack of “real sports” coverage constantly from viewers.

Keith’s Pick: Colin Kaepernick not having an NFL job. I hated the National Anthem controversy he brought on and do not agree with his stance, but teams in bad need of a quarterback – hello, Redskins – should bring him aboard and simply keep him in the locker room during the anthem if that’s an issue. But don’t pretend there’s no boycott because it’s pretty obvious by now there is one and teams are lying to their fans when they say they’re doing everything they can to win when it’s obvious they’re putting politics over competition by keeping Kaepernick out.

5.  Underrated Team(s) of the Year

Chris’s Pick: (Tie) Emmaus Boys Swim Team and Ballou football team.  All that the Hornets do is win district titles, yet among the sports that don’t get much coverage, even less is said about Emmaus’s consistency and multiple district championships in a row (11 in a row and 13 over the last 14 seasons).

I also picked Ballou because of the way they (and the DC community) rallied around Jamal Speaks’ issue this past fall–we spoke about it quite a bit on “SportsTalk” this past year (if you missed it, check out our interview with Head Coach Minoso Rogers online at rcn.com/rcntv/sports-talk).

Keith’s Pick: Muhlenberg College going deep into the NCAA Division III football tournament. Unfortunately, there’s so much going on in the world of sports in the Lehigh Valley, the local colleges often get overlooked. Once upon a time, Muhlenberg sports were big around here. That’s no longer the case. But the Mules should be saluted for a terrific 11-2 season, reaching the national quarterfinals.

6.  Biggest “FADE’ During 2018 (Something That Was Big but Lost Its Luster)

Chris’s Pick: The 76ers were one of the hottest non-high school sports topics on our “SportsTalk” show a few years ago—just as they were just turning the corner and starting to win games.  Now, even after a great playoff run and a good start to this season, hardly anyone seems to want to talk Sixers basketball and, when they do, it’s mostly about the controversy surrounding Ben Simmons and the Kardashians…really?!

Keith’s Pick: The Phillies’ playoff hopes going from first place in the National League East July to a complete disaster by mid-September.

7.  Best Coaching Hire of the Year

Chris’s Pick: Notre Dame Alum Connor Higgins to Allen High School.  The Canaries already have one of the best coaching staffs in the Lehigh Valley but this hiring showed their continuing to try to connect to youth.

Keith’s Pick: (Tie) Ed Ohlson getting back into coaching with the Parkland girls and Scott McClary, a former Muhlenberg coach, getting the Becahi boys basketball job.

8.  Biggest Achievement

Chris’ Pick: (TIE) Centreville boys basketball (of Virginia) winning their first Concorde Conference title in 16 years and Bell High School (in DC) winning its first two titles ever (Gravy Bowl and DCSAA) after reaching the finals but failing to win the championship in five previous tries.

Keith’s Pick: (Tune in to this week’s show to find out).

Keep checking back to “The Shop” here on the RCN-TV website for more opinions from this past year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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