All-Stars Recap

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.

Periodically,  the local sports governing bodies single out the top individual players for the different sports.

To that end, our thanks to the league and district representatives who sent me their “All-Stars” and post-season award winners  for their respective sports. Below is everything I have received.

*PLEASE NOTE:  The Colonial League decided this year to do away with their “All League” teams (with the exception of a couple sports) and is not signally-out any standout athletes for their schools–therefore those schools and their athletes are not listed, unless identified as such by District XI.  There are a few sports in which the coaches disagreed with the decision to do away with these honors and therefore are compiling their own “lists.” In those circumstances, it is up to the coaches to disseminate that information to the media and the league administrators want to make it clear that coaches are doing this of their own volition.  We are not trying to avoid showcasing these schools as this decision was made completely by the Colonial League administration and not anyone at RCN or by anyone in the media.

As always, we welcome any information sent to us regarding such honors and awards and would be happy to promote any all-star lists as assigned by teams and organizations in the RCN coverage area.

2019 EPC Football All Stars FINAL South

2019 EPC Football All Stars FINAL North

And here are the football MVP and title winners:

NORTH OFFENSIVE MVP – Tyrese Brandon, Running Back (Northampton)

NORTH DEFENSIVE MVP – Wayne Hamilton, Outside Linebacker (Stroudsburg)

SOUTH OFFENSIVE MVP – Jared Jenkins, Offensive Athlete (Freedom)

SOUTH DEFENSIVE MVP – Jake Wilson, Defensive End (Nazareth)

Congratulations to the E.P.C. South Division Champion – Nazareth 

Congratulations to the E.P.C. North Division Champion – Northampton 

2019 EPC Golf Results & All-Conference

2019 Field Hockey All-Star Teams

2019-20 Girls Tennis All Conference

2019 EPC Girls Volleyball Allstar results

EPC GSoc AllStars 2019

2019 EPC Boys Soccer All Stars 1st Team

Last but not least, the EPC’s scholar-athlete winners:

Boys’ Cross Country – Nathan Reimer – Parkland

Girls’ Cross Country – Pia Mazzella DiBosco –Easton

Field Hockey – Riley McDonald – Easton

Football – Benjamin Carbonetto – Allentown Central Catholic

Golf – Connor Houghton – Easton

Boys’ Soccer – Palmer Posten – East Stroudsburg South

Girls’ Soccer – Avery Francis – Stroudsburg

Girls’ Tennis – Priyanka Bhashayam – Allentown Central Catholic

Girls’ Volleyball – Lexi Cole – East Stroudsburg South

Congratulations to all of the award winners!

Again, if there’s any additional awards or post-season honors, please feel free to pass them along to chris.michael@rcn.net so that we could recognize those accomplishments here on this blog or on our “SportsTalk” program!

 

Play Ball! Differently!

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.

After all the conversation about much-needed rule changes in Major League baseball, finally something has been done. The changes were actually agreed to last spring by both the owners and the union. The announcement came as the teams reported for spring training. Here are the important ones:

THREE-BATTER MINIMUM
This was a much-needed rule in my estimation. Pitchers will now be required to face a minimum of three batters or finish the half-inning. Exceptions will be made for injury or illness. Obviously, this eliminates a manager bringing in a reliever to face one batter followed by another visit to the mound to again change the pitcher. To give you an idea of the impact, in the last three years, there was an average of 694 visits to the mound to change the pitcher that would no longer be allowed. Obviously both strategy and time will be affected by this change.

POSITION PLAYERS PITCHING
A player will now be designated as a pitcher, position player, or two-way player. This must be done the first day they are put on the active roster and it cannot be changed. A two-way player has to have pitched 20 innings and started 20 games as a position player, with three plate appearances in the current or previous year. Ninety position players pitched last year. One oddity in the rule interpretation is that players designated as pitchers can be position players so Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese star for the Angels, can both pitch and hit.

ROSTER SIZE
Active players on the roster will increase by one to 26 until August 31 and increase to 28 on September 1. Teams will be able to add a player for doubleheaders. Thirteen pitchers will be allowed until August 31 and then the number can increase to 14 on September 1. This is a great change eliminating the 40-man roster when the games were the most important to those teams in the post-season chase. Now teams will have to play with the roster they carried throughout the year.

INJURED LIST AND MINOR LEAGUE OPTIONS
These changes are minor for the average fan. Pitchers on the injured list will now have to miss a minimum of 15 days (was 10). Teams were manipulating the rule to rest a pitcher for one start. Pitchers must also now, if optioned to the minors, stay there for 15 days (it was 10). This rule, much like the “injured list” rule, keeps teams from rotating pitchers constantly, making more pitchers available and creating more pitching changes.

All these changes make sense in order to speed up the game, keep infielders from pitching, and create more stable rosters. I like the rule changes.

Now, “Play ball!”

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. Cleveland Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett has been reinstated by the NFL. Garrett, you may recall, hit Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph over the head with Rudolph’s helmet during a melee. Garrett ended up serving a six-game suspension and some thought he should have been banned from the League. Garrett still claims that Rudolph called him the “N” word, but that has been disputed by almost everyone involved and the league found no proof of that despite microphones being nearby.

2. There is no word on the status of Tom Brady for next year. Most fans forget that he was the 199th pick in the 2000 draft and is now considered by many to be the greatest of all time. He won six Super Bowls and has been paid (so far) $235 million. The retirement party should be fun, whenever it occurs.

3. The Lafayette Leopards men’s basketball team was hit with a devastating injury this past week. Leading scorer and team leader Justin Jaworski suffered both an ACL injury and a torn meniscus and was lost for the season. This, of course, after leading returning scorer Alex Petrie was declared medically ineligible before the start of the season. The Leopards were playing very well and were the only team to beat League-leading Colgate twice. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.

4. The PPL Center created an appropriate venue for the EPC semifinals and the championship finals. Congratulations to the Bethlehem Catholic girls and the Allen boys for their championship wins. And congratulations to the EPC committee for garnering the Center. The good news is that enough fans came out for the three nights to pay all expenses and (perhaps) make a little money.

5. Here are the TV games for this week:

Wednesday, Feb. 19:  7:00pm – Boston University vs Lafayette College (Men); 9:30pm – Pocono Mountain West vs Whitehall

Friday, Feb. 21: 7:00pm –Bethlehem Catholic vs Northwestern; Central Catholic vs Palisades (Boys); Easton vs Freedom; Nazareth vs Pleasant Valley (Girls)

Saturday, Feb. 22: 1:00pm – East Stroudsburg South vs Freedom; Easton vs Parkland (Boys)

Sunday, Feb. 23: 2:00pm – Loyola vs Lafayette

Winter Regular Season Recap #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. 

The regular season is winding down for the winter sports programs in Pennsylvania, and the playoffs are heating up!

Here’s video highlights of our games over the last several weeks with a reminder that RCN customers can see all these games, for FREE and in their entirety for up to two months from their initial air date, through RCN on-demand!

 

  

 

 

 
  Check back to “The Shop” in a few weeks for more video highlight packages and insights on the local high school sports as we get ready for some exciting post-season activities.

Thank Goodness

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.

I must admit that Sunday afternoon felt a little weird.  There was no NFL football and, to be honest, from my perspective, nothing to really interest me in the world of sports.

Rest assured, I was busy.  With two semifinal EPC basketball games on a Monday night, most of Sunday was taken up doing the preparation.  But by 3:00, I was ready to relax and spend the rest of the weekend watching something, anything that would hold my attention.  That almost always means a sporting event.

However, this is the “tweener” time for college and professional sports as far as I am concerned.  I see enough basketball that, until the conference championships roll around, I am not that interested.  Those tournament games do get me mentally ready for March Madness.

I just can’t seem to sit in the recliner to devote two or more hours to the NBA or the NHL.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy watching both, it’s just the games, for me, have very little meaning until the playoffs.

That leaves golf.  Who doesn’t enjoy mentally soaking up the sun, although it is a virtual pastime, and looking at the beautiful setting that is golf on the West Coast?  I did try that yesterday when the pros were playing at Pebble Beach in California.  I found I was more jealous than interested. They were playing and I could not; they were basking in sunshine (I was basking inside –can you even do that?); and they were not playing very well due to the extremely windy conditions.  Suffice it to say, even golf did not keep my interest.

So what’s the answer – high school sports on RCN-TV.  This is the BEST time of the year for high school basketball.  This week I will see the EPC boys’ semifinals and final and the girls’ championship games. And they will be played at a great venue – the PPL Center.

Due to the unmatched talent of our local wrestling teams, I will be able to watch the District XI individual championships on February 22.  Our local teams have had a spectacular year (Nazareth won the PIAA state championship) and the individual bouts should be outstanding.

I will get to call two Lafayette games on Wednesday and Saturday as the men and women’s teams battle for their respective Patriot League slot in the playoffs.

So, all is not lost for the next few weeks, nor should it be for you.  Get out to one of the great high school events this month or, if that cannot work for you, let us choose your virtual attendance.

So even though the NFL season is done and the college and pro sports are winding down, this is the best time for OUR sports.  Thank goodness.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. What are your thoughts on the local Catholic schools banning their wrestlers in team competition from wrestling a girl? It has now happened twice and both times the matches were decided because the Catholic school had to, by Diocesan rule, forfeit the match when the opposing team sent out a girl to wrestle.  Both times the Catholic team would have won the match and both times six points were awarded to the opponent due to forfeit (and the opponent knew that would be the case).  Both times, that bout was the difference in winning or losing.  Do you have a solution?

    P.S.  The Catholic school wrestlers can wrestle a girl in individual tournaments.

  1. What a year for the Nazareth Blue Eagles. First, they win the EPC South division and District XI football championships and this past week, they add a state wrestling title to go along with their District wrestling title.  They were 8-0 in the postseason, won 89 of 112 bouts and 62 with bonus points.  It was total domination.  Congratulations to Coach Dave Crowell and the team.
  1. Fran O’Hanlon, Lafayette’s men’s basketball coach, was honored at a reception on Saturday afternoon. He is coaching his 25th year at Lafayette, one of only five Division 1 college coaches who can make that claim.  You may know the others:

    Jim Boeheim – Syracuse
    Mike Krzyzewski – Duke
    Bob McKillip – Davidson
    Tom Izzo – Michigan State

    Coach O’Hanlon has won 340 games, has three regular season PL titles, three Patriot League championships, has made three NCAA appearances; has been in seven conference finals; and has been named Coach of the Year three  times.

  1. Will you watch the XFL? Did you know it was on?
  1. The schedule – All LIVE

    Monday – EPC Boys Semis – 6:00 PM

    Tuesday – Colonial League Semis – 6:00 PM

    Wednesday – Lafayette vs. Army WBB – 7:00  PM

    Thursday – EPC Girls and Boys championships – 6:00 PM

    Friday – Colonial League Girls and Boys championships – 6:00 PM

    Saturday – Lafayette vs. Holy Cross WBB – 6:00 PM

HS Basketball “Awards”

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. 

Keith Groller and I recently gave our takes on the Lehigh Valley high school basketball season on “SportsTalk,” along with (some of) the following different categories for this season.

As we approach the final few weeks of the regular season, here’s a sample of some of our responses to these topics.

1) Team to Beat in the EPC & Colonial Leagues

 In what should be a great winter basketball season with lots of quality teams, you have to give the nod to the defending District XI 6A champion Allen Canaries.  They have most of their core returning and haven’t hurt themselves with their summer performances and could repeat–although they probably will have tougher competition come playoff time.

In the Colonial League, I put my money on Southern Lehigh to repeat again this year.  They feature too much talent not to successfully retain their title. 

2) “Surprise” Team 

Bethlehem Catholic

I know what you’re thinking–how can one of the premiere basketball teams and a perennial state playoff team be considered a ‘surprise?’  But consider, the Hawks lost perhaps the two best players (a point guard and a 6’10” center, no less) in the Lehigh Valley, yet hardly missed a beat, including incorporating two new players, both 6’6” and both can shoot, play inside and on the perimeter, defend, rebound…you name it.

Plus, the returning supporting cast looked good–especially having the rock and filling in the large departed shoes of Justin Paz.  You lose the players Becahi lost to graduation and you most certainly would have expected some semblance of a step back–at least to start. 

3) Most Intriguing Team to Watch 

Nazareth

Another team that lost a ton to graduation–although they were incredibly inconsistent last season, but Joe Arndt’s kids have been working hard this offseason and he is VERY high on the incoming players.

4) MVP 

This was not an easy topic to answer and the term “MVP” sometimes can be open to different interpretations…you might want to listen to our podcast to hear my entire “thought process” for this one. 

5) Biggest Question Mark This Winter 

I saw Freedom six times in a row last January and, during that stretch, no team looked better–especially defensively.  After that three week stretch I didn’t see Freedom again until the final week of the regular season, and, by that time, they had fallen from the #3 seed to a #9 seed and failed to qualify for the league playoffs and were non-factors in district.

This year, I’ve once again had the opportunity to announce a number of Freedom games and, once again, they’ve looked impressive–but have had trouble getting over the hump in winning big games.

What happened last year?  Can they avoid a similar fate over the next few weeks?  We’ll delve into the Patriots’ psyche as Head Coach Joe Stellato and members of his team (including the Mims brothers–both of whom eclipsed the 1,000 point plateau this month) will be in-studio guests on Thursday’s “SportsTalk” program. 

6) Underclassman to Watch 

Allen’s Nate Ellis

The freshman may have made some early season “ninth grade” mistakes, but he looked awfully impressive down the stretch, guiding his team to a championship.  Nate’s ceiling is already pretty high but certainly he has the potential to go down as one of the best point guard all-time in the rich Allentown basketball history books.  Should be a great story to watch over the next several seasons. 

7) Most Anticipated Colonial League Playoff Matchup 

Notre Dame at Southern Lehigh.

The defending Colonial League champs against the team with the most incoming talent…couldn’t get much better than this. 

8) Most Anticipated EPC Playoff Matchup 

Parkland vs. Allen.

Parkland, after having some issues during the regular season, came on strong late and played the Canaries tough in districts during Allen’s great run.  Would love to see what the Trojans can do with a full year of consistency in the rematch between these two schools. 

9)  New Head Coach with Biggest Impact 

We had a chance to interview the Lehigh Valley’s new coaches on “SportsTalk” recently.  Why don’t you watch those interviews and tell me your thoughts to this topic by emailing me at chris.michael@rcn.net ?  I’d love to hear your opinions!

 

 

 

EPC Playoffs

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.

This past Thursday, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference announced that both the semifinals and the championship finals for the boys and the girls would be played at the PPL Center.  The dates for the semis and finals are February 10 – February 13.  This is, indeed, exciting news.

I am sure many of you recall that it was three years ago that the District XI 6A semifinals were held there before more than 7,600 fans.  It was a night that is now etched into the memories of every local high school basketball fan.  All four teams were outstanding – Allen, Emmaus, Parkland and Pocono Mountain West.  The games did not disappoint.

It is hard to imagine that this year can match the excitement generated three years ago, but it is certainly a fitting venue for the Conference playoffs.  What seems to be the mystery, however, and a question I get asked throughout the year is how the teams get there and how they are seeded.

So, before the quarterfinals are played on Feb. 7, let me try to clear up the process:

Selecting the eight teams:

  • Division Winners get automatic bid, BUT NOT automatic 1, 2, 3…

For example, East Stroudsburg South will be the Mountain Division champion, but will not be the #1, 2, or 3 seed because of their record.  Allen, Liberty, and Central will have better records and will fill those slots.

Seeding:

  • Overall EPC Record (16 games) is the first criteria.

As I write this seven of the eight slots are filled with the order yet to be determined (Allen, Liberty, Central, Easton, Parkland, Freedom, and East Stroudsburg South).  It appears right now that Bethlehem Catholic will be the 8th team.

  • If teams are tied:

Head to Head competition will be used, ONLY if ALL Tied Teams played one another.

If the teams did not play one another, District XI Ranking Points will be used (using ONLY EPC 16 Games).

There could be a coin flip if ALL of the above have teams still tied (This is a distinct possibility for Allen and Liberty to determine seeds #1 and #2).

Central Catholic could also finish with the same record, but the District XI Ranking Points could keep them from the top two spots.

Conclusion:

The final regular season games are played on Monday and Tuesday and then the brackets will all be determined.  This has been a very competitive year so every game promises to be extremely exciting.

I urge all fans to come to the games, but if you cannot, RCN-TV will have the boys’ semifinals LIVE on Monday, Feb. 10 and the boys and girls championship finals on Feb. 13.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. The first half of the Super Bowl may not have been as riveting as we expected, but the second half sure made up for it. I am bewildered that the 49ers did not attempt to score at the end of the first half.  They could have made life miserable for the Chiefs with two consecutive possessions (end of first half and beginning of second half) allowing them to put points on the board.  You defer when you win the coin toss just to set up that situation.  They had time-outs to use and did not use them wisely.  It was a good time to go for the jugular.  They did not.
  1. Patrick Mahomes, at 24, became the youngest QB to be named the MVP of the Super Bowl. Tom Brady had that spot before Sunday Night.  The irony is that Mahomes did it in his third season while it took his head coach, Andy Reid, 21 seasons to get it done.  And being on the cover of the Madden ’20 video game did not jinx Mahomes either.
  1. Andy Reid is now guaranteed a spot in the NFL Hall of Fame – he is 7th in regular season wins; he has won 222 total games; he is 4th in playoff runs and 4th in playoff appearances for coaches with 10 or more seasons. Even Philadelphia fans have to be happy for the 61-year-old.
  1. NFL draft pick spots are determined now that the season has come to a close. The Bengals, Redskins, Lions, Giants, and Dolphins have the first five selections.  The Ravens, Titans, Packers, 49ers, and the Chiefs have the last five.  The Eagles will pick #21.  Of course, all of those slots could be changed due to trades.
  1. The regular season of high school basketball comes to a close this week with games on Monday and Tuesday night. Easton takes on Freedom on Monday at 7:00 PM and on Tuesday night, rivals Wilson and Notre Dame finish out their Colonial League season on RCN-TV at 7:00 PM.  Lafayette men are off this week, but we will have the LafayetteLehigh University men’s game on Saturday, Feb. 8 LIVE at 2:00 PM.  And then it is on to the PPL Center starting Monday, Feb. 10.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 1-0)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 175-90-1  (66%) 

I PICKED THE SUPER BOWL WINNER! 

KANSAS CITY

Lisa Salters & Winter Highlights

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.

I always like to think each of our “SportsTalk” shows are special in their own way, but this Thursday we are going to have an “extra special” guest on our program!

ABC/ESPN Sportscaster Lisa Salters will be on to talk about her career in journalism and balancing family life with a hectic working/traveling schedule, and discussing racism, sexism and other challenges young people in the sports broadcasting industry face.  She also offers helpful advice for future sportscasters.

She is a fascinating interview and has some great perspectives.  I hope you tune in to the program live at 7pm this Thursday to hear for yourselves.  You can also “give a listen” to the interview when our podcast is available here on the RCN-TV website after the show!

In addition, we’ll be previewing this weekend’s District XI Team Wrestling Tournament on this week’s “SportsTalk.”  You will be able to see the district finals live on Saturday evening on RCN-TV.

We’re already had some great high school contests on RCN-TV so far this winter!

Here’s video highlights of our games over the last several weeks with a reminder that RCN customers can see all these games for FREE and in their entirety for up to two months from their initial air dates, through RCN on-demand.

Be sure to bookmark and check back to the RCN Winter Sports Schedule here on our website for our upcoming broadcasts of games, team and times that you won’t want to miss out on as we head into the second half of the winter sports season!

Then and Now

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.

It is Super Bowl week!  The 54th championship game has the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the San Francisco 49ers.  The game promises to be very entertaining with two exciting, yet contrasting, offenses – one, where the pass is the focal point; the other relies heavily on the running game.  All week, you will read about the match-ups on the offensive side versus the defensive side of the ball.  Special teams will be compared and pundits will dissect the two teams to the best of their abilities.

But, this week, I came across an article by ESPN staff writer Ben Baby, where he compares the first game played on January 15, 1967, (known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game back then) to this Sunday’s game.  His research was quite interesting.

Let’s start with ticket prices. Tickets for the ‘67 game were $6, $10, and $12.  In today’s dollars the cost would have been $93.73.  Parking for this week’s game costs more than that – an estimated $120 per vehicle.  The last he looked at ticket prices for this year’s game, the cheapest seats at the top of the stadium went for $4,750.  Club seats were selling for $31,200 on Ticketmaster.

Another startling comparison was made with linemen.  The very best back then weighed around 250 pounds.  The average size of an NFL lineman today is 313 pounds!  At the end of last year, there were 372 players listed at 300 or more pounds (352 pounds being the largest).  Every 49ers offensive lineman weighs over 300 pounds while no 1966 Green Bay Packer weighed more than 249 pounds.

Quarterback comparisons are even more shocking.  The numbers back then for yards per game, completion percentage, and passes thrown per game would be dead last in today’s game.

The first game cost CBS and NBC $1 million.  A 30-second ad today costs $5.6 million.  The Grambling State University band performed the halftime show, a far cry from J-Lo and Shakira.  The winners of game one received $15,000 and the losers got $7,500.  After this Sunday, the winners will each receive $124,000 and the losers will get $62,000.

There are no statistics on how much money was bet for game one, but billions of dollars are bet today, over one billion in Nevada alone.  Some estimate that Nevada represents only about 5% of the total amount bet on the game.  And it is believed, the “house” has suffered losses only twice in the 18 years since legal betting on the game has occurred.

I actually have watched every Super Bowl game since year one.  Trust me when I say, my weight, my income, and my energy have dramatically changed as well.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Kobe Bryant transcended the world of sports with his career and life. He was the greatest of his time, but that is little consolation today.  Eight families had their lives dramatically changed in a split second on Sunday morning.  Remember them all in your thoughts.  May they all “rest in peace.”
  1. As you know, Kobe Bryant played his high school basketball just outside of Philadelphia at Lower Merion High School. If my memory serves me right, we televised one of his high school games when his team played Whitehall in the state playoffs.  Regretfully, I did another game that day and left the broadcast to another team of announcers.
  1. The Chiefs are a one-point underdog in the Super Bowl. The over/under for points scored is 54.5.  The largest bet placed on the game right now is $684,000 on the 49ers +2 in New Jersey.  I’m sure that number will be surpassed as the week progresses.  With that said, so far, in Nevada, twice as much money has been bet on the Chiefs.
  1. Is there a more inconsistent team in the NBA than the 76ers? I know, I asked this same question last week.  They won five of six in the past week and beat the Lakers on Saturday by 17 points.  Ben Simmons looks like an All-League player and rookie Matisse Thybulle plays great defense.  Soon I may be able to drop the “in” in “inconsistent”.
  1. It is hard to believe that there is only a week and a half left in the regular season for high school basketball. RCN-TV will bring you Central at Whitehall basketball on Tuesday, and this Friday night, Whitehall at Parkland will be followed by Freedom at Liberty.  Our Lafayette schedule includes the Lafayette women taking on Colgate on Wednesday night at 7:00pm and the Lafayette men playing American on Saturday at 2:00pm.  The District XI wrestling championship will be held on Saturday. RCN will have the wrestling LIVE.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 2-0)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 174-90-1  (66%)

SUPER BOWL WINNER

KANSAS CITY

 

The Statute of Limitations

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

I feel rather confident that I cannot get into trouble with this blog.  After all, in legal circles, there is something called the “statute of limitations”.  This law sets the maximum time that a person can be charged with a crime.  I believe it is normally seven years, but, at my age, I don’t care if it is seventeen, or even fifty, for that matter.  Let me explain why I bring this up now.

In the news this past week, there have been many stories about cheating.  It seems like the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox cheated their way to World Series championships.  They have been accused of stealing signs and it has been confirmed that they did indeed do that.  Two managers have been fired and one player, who recently became a manager, was fired before he even managed a game.

Sports cheating is not a new phenomenon.  Who has forgotten – Lance Armstrong, the East German Olympic team, Tonya Harding, Deflategate, Rosie Ruiz in the Boston Marathon, the steroids era, – and the list goes on and on.

I can sit here at my computer and tell you why cheating is wrong, but you have heard those cries before.  It is wrong and, if caught, punishment must follow.  I firmly believe the Astros and the Red Sox should lose their World Series titles.  But… I say that with a guilty conscience.

I, too, have cheated.  Is there anyone reading this who can honestly say they haven’t?  If so, I admire your integrity.  You see, back in high school, I was in the advanced classes and in the science curriculum; one had to take chemistry and physics.

I looked very closely at the value of both – would I ever need the knowledge those two subjects offered?  After a week or so in class, my answer was a resounding – “Never!” In chemistry, I already knew “absolute zero” was cold, “barometric pressure” was for weathermen only, and “valences” had something to do with electrons, but since I did not know what an electron was, I couldn’t care less.  It would take a “quantum” (get it) leap to get me interested in this stuff.

Physics was no different.  Why call something “antimatter” – isn’t that just “nothing”?  I learned about the “Big Bang Theory” on CBS, not in class.  “Dark matter” is when the electric company fails me once again and “Critical Mass”, to me, is when I am twenty pounds overweight.  Suffice it to say this was not critical knowledge to me.  And the concepts seemed impossible to learn.  So what did I do – what every industrious grade-centered student would do – I cheated.

Luckily, I had a few things going for me in both classes.  We were seated alphabetically and, after L comes M (see, I learned my alphabet because I thought that knowledge would come in handy one day).  M was very, very smart.  He’s a doctor today.  The tests were all multiple choice and I had a good sight angle from my eyes to his answers.  We were together in both classes.  Add to that the fact that my chemistry teacher was the basketball coach (I was the starting point guard) and the physics teacher was the football coach (I was the starting quarterback) and, maybe, just maybe, they did not want to catch me.  All I know is that I passed both subjects with Bs (I was smart enough not to use all of the good doctor’s answers).

I may have gotten just payback, however, before entering college.  I took the Advanced Placement tests in English, math, and Spanish.  English and math came easy – Spanish, not so much.  The entire test was in Spanish including the directions – again, it was multiple choice.  I just guessed.  To my amazement, I scored so high, I was placed in Spanish 3 and Spanish 4 instead of the introductory courses in college.  No one ever spoke a word of English in either class.  I tried to talk my way out of it, but offered up my argument in English, which I am not sure the professor understood.  So for two semesters, I did not know what anyone was saying. I got Ds.

Lest you think I am stupid (and you probably do by now), I won the Shakespeare prize and was elected to the English Honor Society.  I also was Moravian’s Scholar-Athlete in 1968.  I did well when I thought I was learning important things.

Rest assured, with all the cheating that is in the news this week, I am happy to get this off my chest.  I feel better and, oh, yeah, what can anyone do now?  Remember, there’s the “Statute of Limitations”.  Ha! Ha! Ha!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Andy Reid is back in the Super Bowl. 15 years ago Reid’s Eagles took on the New England Patriots.  There were clock management problems in that game again for Reid, something Eagles’ fans never were willing to forgive throughout his stay in Philadelphia.  You may not remember that Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons three years ago when the Falcons gave up a 28-3 lead to the Patriots and ended up losing 34-28.  Articles will remind both coaches of those failed outcomes in the next two weeks.  The good news is one of them WILL win a Super Bowl.
  1. The Chiefs are in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1970 – that’s right – 50 years ago. Andy Reid was 11 years old.  The Chiefs beat the Minnesota Vikings that year 23-7.  It was Super Bowl IV.  Hank Stram was the coach.
  1. The 49ers won their first in 1982 when they beat the Cincinnati Bengals 26-21. Bill Walsh was the head coach.  They won four more after that in 1985, 1989, 1990, and 1995.  They lost to the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.
  1. Is there a more inconsistent team in the NBA than the 76’ers? They now have won three straight without Joel Embiid.  By next week’s end, I could be talking about a three-game losing streak – that’s just who they are.
  1. RCN-TV will bring you Allen at Liberty basketball on Tuesday and Easton at Allen followed by Central at Parkland on Friday night. Our Lafayette schedule includes the Lafayette men taking on Army on Wednesday night at 7:00pm and the Lafayette women playing Lehigh on Saturday at 2:00pm.  The EPC wrestling championship will be held on Saturday at 7:00pm.  We will have the wrestling LIVE.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 2-0)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 174-90-1  (66%) 

SUPER BOWL PICK NEXT WEEK

The Transfer Portal

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.

Many of us who pay close attention to high school sports have complained vociferously about students transferring to other schools just for the sake of athletics.  Community boundaries did not make much difference for those who wanted to play for a particular program or leave a program that was not successful.  Many believed a son or daughter would get more exposure to college scouts by being a member of a winning team and that exposure could increase one’s chances of landing a scholarship.

This movement has caused the PIAA to try to find a solution to an ongoing problem.  There has been plenty of discussion about boundary vs. non-boundary competition; residence requirements; mid-year movement, etc.  Stay tuned for more rules followed by more complaining.

The NCAA which regulates college athletics thinks they have a solution – it’s called the “Transfer Portal”.  It started in October, 2018.  Any player in any sport who has interest in transferring from a school can now place their name into the transfer portal.  All the student needs to do is go to the compliance department of their current college and say they want to be entered into the portal.  Common courtesy would suggest a student-athlete should talk to their coach first, but that is not a requirement.  Once the request is made, compliance has 48 hours to enter that student’s name onto the portal.  Once the name appears on the list, colleges can contact that student with permission from the student.  A player does have the option of removing their name, but, for the most part, a coach will drop that student from their roster, or at the very least, retract their scholarship at the end of a semester as soon as they hear that student is looking to go elsewhere.

The idea behind it was that the student should have more power in the decision-making process.  It gives the athlete more options than they had before.  Previously, the student had to be granted permission to contact another school.  The list is supposed to remain private, used only by schools and student-athletes, but there most certainly have been leaks.

The concept has become very popular for the athletes.  It is speculated that there are over 500 Division 1 names in the portal right now.  More than 15,000 have entered their names in the Transfer Portal since its inception.  Compliance people love it because it eliminates a lot of paperwork.  Most athletes love it because they now have freedom of movement, which they did not previously have.  Coaches both love and hate it depending on whether they lose or acquire a player.

The transfer drawback of being forced to sit out a year still exists in major sports like football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.  There are waivers available which are treated on a case by case basis.

This actually seems like a rational plan.  And anything deemed “rational” in sports these days is a positive step forward.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Andy Reid has been to only one Super Bowl as a head coach and we know what team that was. But with the Patriots losing and the Ravens losing before Sunday’s ChiefsTexans, it sure looked like he was guaranteed to head there for a second time.  And then all “heck” broke loose and the Texans went up 24-0 into the second period.  The Chiefs made mistake after mistake.  But have you seen a team this year able to score points faster than the Chiefs?  He told his players to “keep playing, keep battling”.  It worked; boy, did it ever.  They scored the next 41 and ended the game with 51 points.  Is this the year Coach Reid wins a Super Bowl?
  1. Jeopardy is trying to pick the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) by pitting their three most successful players in competition against one another. The winner will be decided this week.  The NFL is trying to do it by position and obviously without competition.  An impossible task.  Just look at the quarterback position – Unitas, Brady, Elway, P. Manning, Montana?  Now move on to every position and start the argument. Please – no physical confrontations!
  1. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers exchanged jerseys after Sunday night’s game. Both played for the University of California in 2004 and almost became Packer teammates in 2010 when Buffalo traded Lynch.
  1. Kansas City is favored by seven in their game with Tennessee despite the Titans winning 35-32 during the regular season. If you are looking for a team of destiny, choose the Titans.  San Francisco is favored by seven over the Packers.  That’s odd since the 49ers led 23-0 at the half and won 37-8.  They sacked Aaron Rodgers five times and held him to 104 yards passing.  I cannot see any way the Packers win this one.
  1. RCN-TV will bring you Whitehall at Bethlehem Catholic basketball on Tuesday and Easton at Parkland followed by Central Catholic at Freedom on Friday night. Our Lafayette schedule includes the Lafayette men taking on Colgate on Wednesday morning at 11:00am and the Lafayette women playing Navy on Saturday at 2:00pm.  Northampton will wrestle Nazareth on Wednesday night at 7:00pm.  Plenty to choose from if you are so inclined.

GARY’S GUESSES (LAST WEEK – 3-1)  (YEAR-TO-DATE) – 172-90-1  (66%)

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