Category Archives: Columns

Baby, If You Were Words On a Page, You’d Be Fine Print

During my freshman year of college I was approached by a guy on campus and asked in a very serious tone, “How much does a polar bear weigh?” Confused and a little taken aback I said that I did not know. He then cracked a grin, extended his hand and said “enough to break the ice”, and introduced himself.  I was on the receiving end of a pickup line and you know what, I thought it was great.

We’ve all seen a movie or television show that portrays some poor, awkward guy standing alone at a bar, trying to muster up the courage to approach an attractive individual and spark a conversation only to stumble over a corny pickup line that results in either a dirty look or a drink thrown in his face.

I for one love pickup lines. When presented correctly they can be a hilarious icebreaker and actually start a real conversation. People who open up conversations with pickup lines show that they have confidence which is always an attractive quality and some pickup lines can be adorable. They are also a good way to get your point across to the other person that you are interested in them without engaging in a drawn-out conversation that ends with them mentioning a significant other. Once a pickup line is delivered, that person on the receiving end has the chance to politely end the conversation and walk away or take a chance and introduce themselves.

Ask any of your friends to quote their favorite pickup lines and I guarantee you they can immediately list of a a few that make them all laugh. So, if your friends are laughing then there stands a pretty good chance you’ll get that girl or guy in the bar to laugh too.

It all depends on the delivery. If you’re creepy with your pickup line, the chances of getting a drink thrown in your face can be pretty high. If you are really interested in chatting up a cutie then give a more light-hearted, funny line rather than a raunchy, rude one liner that can be taken offensively. No one wants to end up with a vodka-tonic in their eyes, it burns and then the other person has to spend money on another drink.

There are also tons of career oriented pickup lines that you can try out on a coworker or someone you know in the same type of field. I think that these are the best type of icebreaker, you can start talking about your common interests and goals and after awhile you may become one of that individuals new interest.

Some people might not think that pickup lines can actually spark a little something, but they can. They are charming and funny, showing a great sense of humor. Who doesn’t love someone who can make them laugh? Or someone who can laugh at themselves?

I don’t know if I am the one girl who could be picked up by the cheesiest pickup line out there, but you never know. If you’re light-hearted and don’t mind people laughing at you, what do you have to lose? Like I said, keep them clean yet witty, flattering and fun.

Now go out and try some of your favorite pickup lines. I suggest avoiding the tired and cliched ones such as, “Did it hurt…when you fell from heaven?” or, “Are your legs tired? Because you’ve been running through my dreams all night.” Be creative, be fun and be bold because really, my body has a deadline and if we don’t hurry we’re going to miss it.

Baseball’s Replay Pains

by Sean Begin

The 2014 baseball season comes with a major shift in the way games are umpired: for the first time ever, instant replay will be used extensively throughout the game.

But three weeks into the season, it’s already facing major obstacles.

In a game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees over the weekend, the Yankees Dean Anna was showed on the TV broadcast to have clearly been tagged out, even though the initial ruling was safe. But after Sox manager John Farrell challenged the call, instead of being overturned it was confirmed.

The next day, Farrell became the first manager in the major’s to be ejected from a game for arguing the results of instant replay review when Yankees first baseman Francisco Cervelli was called safe at first.

But after Saturday’s call, it’s hard not to agree with Farrell. Anna should have been out at second. After that game, an MLB official acknowledged that the Replay Operations Center in New York that handles all replay challenges did not have immediate access to all conclusive angles.

Wait, what?

How do multiple TV broadcast (I watched the game on the YES Network, but it was also broadcast on NESN and Fox Sports 1) immediately see a perfect angle showing Anna is out but the ROC doesn’t get it?

Is there some miscommunication between the providers of the footage (the channels broadcasting the game) and the ROC? Maybe someone just choked. Maybe they felt rushed to make a quick decision that they didn’t go through all available angles. Maybe it was simply technical difficulties.

None of that matters, though.

Replay in baseball has long been an issue of contention. Purists will argue that it takes the human element (umpires) out of the game. Proponents of the system, ironically, will argue the same point.

While I’m all for expanded replay (baseball added replay on home run calls in 2008) it’s becoming increasingly clear that patience on many levels is being worn thin.

These early months of replay are when it will be most scrutinized. Mistakes like the one in the Sox/Yankees game, or lengthy reviews like the four minute, 45 second one that took place in a game between Oakland and Cleveland earlier this season, will provide proof for the doubters that the system isn’t perfect yet.

But that’s precisely the point. John Schuerholz – former Braves manager and one of the minds behind replay – called 2014 the first year of a “three-year rollout” of expanded replay. Patience becomes necessary.

But for fans, managers and players patience isn’t always a strong suit. And with baseball already facing issues of game length (the average game length has gone up 30 minutes since the 1960s) there is no room for five minute reviews that come up “inconclusive.”

Now is the time for replay to show its usefulness. Through the first 141 games of the season (about two weeks), replay overturned a call once in every 6.7 games. Out of 64 challenges, 21 have been overturned with the average replay length 2:15. These are not bad numbers, even though the time can continue to be decreased.

And most of these early mistakes seem to be technical, which should be expected given the newness of the system. But the way replay is used still needs policing.

Managers have already shown that these new replay rules can be bent and twisted as strategy for giving bullpen pitchers more time to warm up without the struggling starter continuing to flounder, or will come out to talk with the umpires while they wait for the team’s new replay guy to determine if a challenge is necessary (which, of course, only adds to the length of a game).

Look, it’s not surprising there are kinks to the system. But some of these mistakes and issues have been so glaring that the people decrying replay as a failure will only get louder. Baseball should take some quick and necessary steps to shore up replay before those voices continue to grow.

 

Is the Media Jumping the Gun on Kyrie’s Career with the Cavaliers?

by Navindra Persaud

Last Friday, Cleveland Cavalier guard Kyrie Irving voiced his frustration over Twitter about the way the media has handled rumors of him possibly leaving the team.

“Sick to my stomach with all these rumors and accusations. Can I play without media guessing at my life and putting B.S out for headlines,” tweeted Irving after a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Throughout the NBA regular season, rumors of his possible departure from the team have been circulating after he missed a total of 49 games due to injuries (broken nose, index finger and right hand, along with a bruised knee and, most recently, from a strain in his left bicep tendon).

Unfortunately for Irving, his injuries have not given him the opportunity to completely assume the role of one of the premier players in the NBA. However, the shades of that great No. 1 overall draft pick still show through: see the game against the Charlotte Bobcats last Saturday. Irving managed to score 44 points (his new career high) in just the third game since returning from a bicep injury.

“They’re writing reports, ‘Is he staying or is he going?’” Irving said, according to the Associated Press. “I mean that’s the last of my worries right now. It’s portraying me in a light and it’s bringing negativity to the team that I don’t want. Our focus right now and my focus right now is winning and trying to finish out the season strong. That’s where my focus has been and where it’s going to stay.”

Irving has repeatedly stated that he is happy in Cleveland despite reports such as Chad Ford’s statement via ESPN’s Chat with Chad Ford in which he stated that Irving had been saying that “he wants outs” in private conversations.

That is quite a bold statement to make. These private conversations are supposed to be, well, private. It’s why we haven’t heard other credible sources confirming this as well as Irving himself. It all seems like a he-said/they-said argument — the truth being completely lost in translation.

It seems as though Cleveland cannot escape the shadow of negativity when it comes to their franchise players staying with the team or not. The last time Cleveland was under the spotlight was just three seasons ago when Lebron James decided to “take his talents to South Beach.”

When Irving plays, he is quite effective. His ball handling skills enable him to slash to the basket or create crafty plays that leave defenders scratching their head after he has scored. Irving is still a player to be afraid of when he steps on the court; voicing his frustration is completely understandable.

Still, Cleveland has a chance to clinch a spot in the NBA playoffs but that will require the Atlanta Hawks to struggle and the Cavaliers to find it within their team to dominate the competition before the regular season ends on April 16th.

For now, the media should trust in what Irving says. His story has been consistent. Irving’s only concern seems to be with the team and their run to try to make it into the post season for a chance at NBA championship contention.

The Cavaliers are currently 10th in the NBA Eastern Conference with a record of 31-47 on the season. It is difficult to say that this record is due to Irving or to put any of the blame on him as a player. Neither the media nor Irving will be deciding his fate. It is up to the Cavaliers front office to assess his performance.

A Tiger Sensing His End?

by Sean Begin

A piece of news surfaced on April Fool’s Day that, at first glance, seemed to fit the theme of the day. As I was perusing Twitter, I saw a headline that announced Tiger Wood’s would miss the Masters.

Tiger not at the Masters? That hasn’t happened in nearly two full decades. Someone had to have made up this rumor.

But after some digging, I saw the news had come from the man himself, when he announced through his website that he had undergone microdiscectomy surgery to fix back pain caused by a pinched nerve.

Wood’s hasn’t won the tournament that he made his name at (when, as an amateur in 1997, he obliterated the field by 12 strokes, finishing 18-under par) since 2005. He hasn’t been a factor, really, since the SUV accident and cheating scandal that almost destroyed his career in 2009.

Since then, Wood’s has placed no better than fourth in golf’s first major of the year. Woods, famously, has struggled since that life event. His last major came in 2008, when he won the U.S. Open on a destroyed knee (Wood’s had a double stress fracture rehabbing a prior knee surgery from April and needed ACL surgery after the tournament).

Tiger sits currently at number one on the golf rankings, but his missing the Masters could see that ranking slip away from him once again. There are three golfers that could surpass Woods, although a minimum of a third place tie would be necessary.

Some in the sports media world have declared that by missing the Masters, Tiger no longer has any shot of passing Jack Nicklaus’ majors record of 18; that the Age of Tiger has become a thing of the past.

While its true that Woods’ body has essentially betrayed him since 2008 (he has had multiple Achilles’ injuries in both ankles, ACL and MCL repair in his left knee and neck and back problems) he has shown flashes of his former dominant self.

He won five times in 2013, before succumbing to injuries early this season.

While its too soon to declare Woods finished, it suddenly becomes a much more real idea that he could fail to pass Nicklaus. Woods turned 38 in December.

The man he is chasing, Jack Nicklaus, won four after he turned 38, including his final championship, the 1986 Masters, when he was 46 years old. Ben Hogan won five after he turned 38, the most by anyone in history after that age.

It’s not impossible, despite his recent injury history, that Woods can win another major. The question becomes, can he win four? The Masters has always been Woods baby. It was his first major, the one he’s the most, tied at four with the PGA Championship.

Some experts have said if Woods is to break his streak of winless majors, it’d be at Augusta. Now, that chance will pass Woods by for another year, until he returns to the links in Georgia at age 39.

The Masters and golf will survive Woods’ absence, but it will not see the ratings it usually does. There is no doubt Woods remains golf’s biggest star, and biggest ratings drawer. Woods has always drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan: a star that changed the face of the game he played.

It’s not a question if Woods has the ability to win. 2013 proved he can still golf with the best of them.

The question now becomes can Woods survive his rapidly declining body? Can Woods keep his failing knee and ailing back healthy enough to make one last, late career push to cement his legacy as greatest golfer to grace the game?

They say an old tiger sensing his end is at his most fierce. In this case, I sincerely hope so.

Writer’s Block: The Column That Almost Wasn’t

Writers block. We all suffer from it, whether it’s a book report for your English class or the Editor’s Column for the newspaper.

I have it.

Each week, I write a column for this paper, which means each week I need to think of something to write. I like to write about topics that I am passionate about but sometimes the passion can be in short supply, especially on a tired, sick Monday night.

When nothing of particular interest catches my eye or intrigues me or if I don’t have a strong, fighting opinion, I don’t like to waste my time or my reader’s time writing 600 words that lack a real point.

I have learned two things throughout my lifetime of writing: 1. I thoroughly enjoy it. 2. When you have writers block, it won’t go away.

As I’m sitting here, I am watching the time pass, trying to come up with an idea about what to write. Almost seven hours later and still… nothing.

I started asking around to my staff for any ideas of what I could have an opinion on. After a few random and silly topics, someone made a joke about writing about writers block. So I did because I know that it’s a topic that almost all readers can relate to.

Throughout the week, I learn new things in class, I watch interesting and stupid television shows, I listen to music and I talk about a million different topics with a million different people every day.

So why is it so hard to come up with something, anything to write about? I am a very opinionated person. I am also, however, a very logical thinker. When I have my opinion and express it, I enjoy hearing and understanding other views.

This makes it hard to come up with something to write and to stick it out. Here is where I meet writers block. Everything I see, hear and discuss over a week flies out of my head and I’m on empty.

But what I’ve figured out over these last moments is that sometimes, you need to let your mind relax. Stress combined with a need to force a thought will get you nowhere.

The best opinions and arguments come naturally. So here’s a tip for the next time you are facing writers block: walk away from what you are doing, if only for a few moments or maybe a few hours. Take a walk, call up a friend for a quick chat or even turn on the television and relax.

Once you’ve gotten your mind off the subject at hand, come back to it. Chances are you’ll have a better time thinking of a topic to write about.

So, as I sit here and write this column, I am teaching myself something and finding a new opinion – Let your mind relax and don’t force yourself to think. The best work is done when your mind is fresh and you have enough time to work it out in your head.