Category Archives: Sports

Top 5 Sports Events of 2018

RithikDoddla, Editor-in-Chief

From shootouts to comebacks, 2018 has given us so many great sports moments. It has displayed the power of sports and its ability to bring people of all backgrounds together. As we begin to enter a new year, it is only right to reflect on how we got here. Here are the top five sports events of 2018:

1. Jan. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Arguably the greatest college football championship game ever, Alabama made a surreal comeback after being down 13 – 0 at halftime. Making a quarterback switch heading into the second half, the Crimson Tide marched back with freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa under center. This game will forever be remembered as it was the first playoff national championship game to go into overtime, and it is very rare to see a freshman quarterback shine in the brightest lights in his first career start.

2. Jan. 14 New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

Filled with highlight plays, this game was an absolute thriller as the Saints made a comeback and took the lead in the fourth quarter. Responding to the Viking’s scoring drives with their own, the Saints had the lead with 25 seconds left in the game. Things weren’t looking too good for Minnesota as they were on their own 39-yard line with only 10 seconds left. This was when the iconic “Minnesota Miracle” happened as quarterback Case Keenum threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs as the clock ran out, stunning the Saints. Looking at all the football games this year, this one might just be the best.

3. Feb. 9 – Feb. 25 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games

Whenever the Olympics are on, people tune in to watch sports they don’t normally follow. The United States finished fourth overall in this year’s Winter Olympics medal count. Each victory made a great story, but perhaps the best one was that of the U.S. Curling Men’s Team. The group lost four of their first six games and barely squeaked into the knockout stages with five wins and four losses. Once in the playoffs, the team reached their peak and went on a rampage, eventually upsetting Sweden in the finals. The squad shocked the whole world as the difference between their performances in the group stages and the knockout stages was dramatic.

4. March 13 – April 2 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament

This March was truly filled with madness as there were many shocking games aside from regular upsets that happen every tournament. Perhaps the most memorable one was the victory of 16 seed UMBC over number one Virginia. Previously, 16 seeded teams were 0-135 against No. 1 teams, so this was something the world has never seen. Another surprise was the uprising of the 11 seed Loyola Ramblers who marched their way into the Final Four, upsetting team after team. The whole nation started to rally behind them as it was so rare to see such a small a basketball school find ways to beat schools that have better high school recruits and programs. Though Loyola lost in the Final Four to Michigan, they still proved that any team can make a run in this tournament. More importantly, they made their first Final Four since 1963.

5. May 28 – June 7 Washington Capitals vs. Las Vegas Golden Knights

The Stanley Cup is something that is played for every year, but this year’s was very different from previous competitions. The Las Vegas Golden Knights had dominated the whole season and had reached the championship in their first year as a team. This has never been seen before in any of the major sports leagues across the nation so the team was looking to make history with a victory. Their competition, the Washington Capitals, were a team known for being good, but not great. They had the fifth-longest active postseason streak with four seasons, but they always struggled in the past to win games here. With  new-found determination, the Capitals marched their way into the finals, looking to bring their first ever Stanley Cup home. As both teams had such great stories, millions of people tuned in across the nation having high expectations for the series. What was expected to be a neck-to-neck series slowly faded away as the Capitals dominated the Knights and won four to one.

Advertisements

Dancing on Glass – The Intensity of Figure Skating

NicRasool, Features and News Editor & KatherineGray, staff reporter

Figure skating, both an incredibly beautiful and painful sport, has been a part of the Olympics since 1908. It includes a variety of both Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines such as ice dance, synchronized skating of Ice Theater, and is an extremely alluring event, albeit one that remains ignored by the average sports fan. However, few truly know about the amount of work, training and stress skaters go through in order to perfect and compete in figure skating.

Ice skating itself is actually a relatively ancient tradition, dating back to around 1000 B.C.E. Since then, it has morphed from sliding around on animal-bone skates to thin metal blades, and has since become an art form in its own right. The first actual account of figure skating comes from 1772 with Robert Jones’s “A Treatise on Skating,” but it remained rather formal and structured in technique until Jackson Haines introduced a more relaxed style in the mid-1860s. With its introduction to the 1908 Olympics, ice skating glided into the global spotlight. Soon after, many figure skating organizations, such as the International Skating Union (ISU), sprang to life and skating has been thriving as both a sport and an art ever since.

Pulled muscles, and even broken bones, are common on the rink. The activities involved in figure skating – jumps, spins and even at times stretching – can cause a variety of injuries. These basic techniques and actions can cause immense amounts of stress on muscles, bones and joints which can result in ligament injuries, sometimes including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), causing a skater’s knee to collapse on their weight. Accidentally falling can cause different injuries ranging from simple bruises to concussions or even broken wrists as skater’s attempt to brace themselves for a forward fall. Figure skating has only become more physically taxing since the 1990s with the replacement of kinder figure-eight gliding to a greater focus on jumps and spins, both of which cause greater strain to the body.

While they remain common, some figure skating injuries can be career-ending. Yuzuru Hanyu, a Japanese skater who’s won numerous Olympic gold medals, recently faced an ankle injury that was so severe that some physicians were simply unable to offer a treatment plan. Hanyu, ankle unhealed, competed in Pyeongchang while on painkillers in order to get through the intensity of his injury.

Figure skating is an extremely difficult and stressful sport, yet it appears to be viewed as secondary compared to others, such as hockey or football. “It’s not aggressive like football or ice hockey,” says an anonymous Chattahoochee senior who trains in figure skating. “Figure skaters are trained to make it look easy. When it looks easy, it’s well-done.”

Figure skating is a wonderful and beautiful practice, and its gracefulness is often what is so alluring to spectators. Understanding the time and effort that is put into the flawless spins and jumps brings a whole new level of appreciation to the sport. It remains an incredible practice and will only continue wowing the world for years to come.  

Serena Williams: Vindicated?

KatherineGray, Staff Reporter

More Than Just A Bad Day

Anger and confusion are natural responses to stress, whether they come from having a bad day or being judged unfairly. The question for Serena Williams, world-renowned tennis star, is which one caused her to go ballistic when she lost the U.S. Open?

She claims the referee, Carlos Ramos, was sexist for calling her out for several offenses that ultimately cost her the game. These infractions include obtaining help from her coaches during the game, breaking her racket and verbally assaulting an official. All three of these offenses are faux-pas in the world of tennis. She claims that if she were a man and had done the same things, she would not have been penalized, and therefore, what he did was unfair. The question then becomes, should Mr. Ramos just have let her violations slide? The answer: no.

Tennis is unique in the sports world as it is one of, if not the only, sport where you cannot get help from coaches during a match. The sport as a whole is rather special, especially in terms of how “proper” everything has to be. Even though this can be a source of stress for athletes, it is what makes tennis so enjoyable for some. This need for order can also affect the coaches, as seen in Mr. Ramos, who is known to keep in line with the rules of tennis and administers justice accordingly. While he arguably should have given her a verbal warning first, she was breaking the rules regardless.

As a woman myself, I agree with him. This was not an act of sexism, especially as Mr. Ramos is known to consistently point out any rule-breaking regardless of the athlete’s gender. To say that male tennis players are never called out for the aforementioned infractions is factually incorrect. Even if it is uncommon, they are still frequently called out for their wrongdoings, such as when Benoit Paire was penalized for racket breaking in Aug. Ultimately, violating the rules is not admissible, and unfortunately for Ms. Williams, she simply was not in the clear.

Regardless of the validity and justification for his call, her reaction was unacceptable. Of course she was likely stressed after losing such an important match, but fussing at the referee rather than respectfully asking for why he called her out is just not good sportsmanship. Ms. Williams is very talented and has a large fan base, and thus carries great clout in the tennis community. However, that is exactly why seeing her so irate is upsetting. Most people expect more from their role models, and thus, hope for more from Ms. Williams.

Thankfully, there is always a chance for redemption, and I certainly hope that after reflecting on all of the events and backlash, she learns something and it helps to make her an even better example for young people across the globe.

RithikDoddla, Editor-in-Chief

Act of Sexism

On Sept. 8, Serena Williams lost to Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open Women’s Championship, ending one of the most controversial tennis matches in recent history. Williams caused a great uproar on the court after she was penalized three times throughout the match. The first penalty was for being coached during the match, the second was for smashing her racket on the court and the third was for calling the referee a “thief.” Williams was penalized a whole game for these infractions.

After the match, Williams commented on how this was “an act of sexism” because male tennis players would not be penalized if they acted the way she did. Serena Williams’s actions are perfectly logical because she is taking a stand against sexism and fighting for all female tennis players.

Right after she was penalized for the first time, the atmosphere in the stadium shifted as the fans noticed Williams started to become extremely unhappy and frustrated. Though Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, admitted he did advise her, he believed she was not aware he was and stated that it is a regular occurence. Even though this happens in every match, referees have never penalized a male tennis player for this.

Williams was left in disbelief because of this inequality and this led her to smash her racket on the court, her second penalty. Male tennis players break rackets very often during matches though they are never penalized for it. For example, Novak Djokovic is notorious for breaking rackets in frustration, but he has never faced any consequences for it. This took Williams over her tipping point.

She went ballistic on the referee saying that his calls are not fair at all and tried to seek justice. She demanded  an apology and screamed at him about how this is an act of sexism, leading to her third penalty. She began to realize that there was nothing she could do to change the calls and decided to continue the game and express her opinions after.

Williams explained that she was frustrated not because she believed she did not commit penalties, but because those actions have no consequences in a men’s match. Williams is a social warrior and is using her popularity to speak about the unknown inequality that takes place in tennis. She is fighting for all women and will not give up until equality is achieved.

Hooch Soccer Final Four

BrettGreenberg, Staff Reporter

Chattahoochee topped Alpharetta to head to their second straight state championship on Tuesday, May 8 by a score of 2-1 in overtime.

This match was full of ups and downs but Chattahoochee prevailed in the end thanks to Senior Chris Spaid’s late game heroics scoring with 2:38 left on the clock during the 2nd half of overtime. Hooch has dealt with adversity all season and had to do it once again when the team’s starting goalie, Senior Jerrico Trujillo, was taken out due to a concussion. Third string goalie, Sophomore Joe Johnson, played well and the defense, once again, took control in the final minutes of regulation and in overtime. This team has shown a great sense of pride and perseverance the entire year and hope to make that final step and cement themselves in the Chattahoochee High School history books. 

With the 2-1 overtime win, Hooch will head to McEachern on Saturday May 12th at 2:30 for the 6-A GHSA State Championship game vs region rival Cambridge, who they fell to earlier in the season, 3-1.

Comeback $eason

JaydenChin, Staff Reporter

Johnny Manziel made his football debut in 2012 when he was a redshirt freshman Quarterback for Texas A&M. During the team’s first year in the Southeastern Conference, Manziel broke numerous FBS and SEC records. He made himself known by being the first freshman in NCAA football history to be awarded the Heisman Trophy after passing for over 3,000 yards and rushing for over 1,000 yards that season.

 In 2014, Manziel was disappointingly drafted 22nd overall to the floundering Cleveland Browns. Despite having a few good games, he struggled with consistency. But Manziel’s numerous off-field controversies are what led to his release at the end of his second season with the Browns. Sure, he had problems on the field, but proper coaching could have developed his mechanics into that of a solid dual-threat quarterback. Partying was his problem. He had been known to enjoy himself quite often during his time in college and everyone expected him to be the same when he went pro. When he was demoted to third string quarterback behind Brian Hoyer and Austin Davis, a video surfaced of him partying in Texas over that same bye week. His own teammates deemed his performance a joke. His work ethic and commitment were just not that of an elite, franchise quarterback.

Manziel’s NFL career seemed to be over for good. His presence, though,persisted as he was constantly seen hanging out with A-list celebrities and athletes. Many saw a comeback in the near future but he never confirmed or denied. After almost two years of wondering if Johnny “Football’ or “Money” Manziel would ever live up to his nicknames it finally seems that he will. In 2017 he completed a substance abuse program and got engaged to his model girlfriend. Manziel announced his attempt at an NFL comeback on social media with an exciting video of him completing drills on the field in great shape. He also stated that he was in talks with a CFL team but never reached an agreement. Instead, Manziel joined the NFL’s Spring development league and also led Texas A&M’s pro day where he dazzled scouts and coaches with his impressive improvement. As Manziel has stated on multiple tweets and Instagram posts, “it’s comeback season.”

 

Why the Braves are Underrated

MatthewKohn, Sports/News Editor

Coming into the the 2018 MLB season, many experts and millions of fans across the nation wrote off the Braves as one of the league’s worst teams that would be lucky to amass as many wins as they had last year, when they went 70-92. Another reason people have come to this conclusion is because new general manager, Alex Anthopoulus, who took over after John Coppolella was banned for life over the winter, has been stingy with the Braves’ money.

While it is true that the Braves are among the league’s lowest spenders, they also proudly boast one, if not the best farm systems in all of baseball. With talent that spans across multiple minor team leagues, starting with single-A in Rome, all the way up to triple-A in Gwinnett, the Braves are loaded with young talent. Easily, the most exciting and highly anticipated prospect that the Braves have is 20-year-old Ronald Acuña. Acuña is an outfielder, who quickly rose from single-A all the way to triple-A in just one season last year and is already being tabbed as one of the top candidates for NL Rookie of the Year. Acuña was recently called up and already launched a mammoth home run in just his second game ever. Since then, Acuña already has amassed six extra-base hits, setting a new Braves franchise record for most the most extra-base hits through a player’s first six career games. While Acuña is arguably MLB’s top prospect, the Braves are also loaded with other young talent, like pitcher Mike Soroka, who recently made his debut in a win against the Mets, and outfielder Christian Pache. The only downfall is that some of these players will not be ready to play this year, but the future certainly looks bright for the young Braves.

The Braves are surely set for the future, but this year will not be completely lost. So far in the season, the Braves have already started off better than anyone thought owning a winning record and playing exciting baseball. Second basemen Ozzie Albies, who got called up near the end of last season, has already inserted himself as a local star with dazzling defensive plays and a high number of extra base hits, made possible with his elite speed and surprising power. Freddie Freeman is a perennial MVP candidate when healthy; Dansby Swanson is finally living up to his name as the former number one overall pick, and the rest of the position players have also exceeded expectations batting the ball. As a team the Braves are currently first in hits in the National League with 286, and only behind the red-hot Red Sox for the lead in the entire league. The starting rotation has also been impressive as Julio Teheran has already delivered a couple quality starts, and Brandon McCarthy has become a pleasant surprise. Finally, with Acuña’s arrival suspected to be sometime in the imminent future, the Braves 2018 season will surely be a successful one.

Choosing Which NHL Team to Root For

MatthewKohn, Sports/News Editor

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs underway, many sports fans in Atlanta have not been able to get into the tournament without having a bonafide team to root for. With over 16 teams in the first round of the playoffs, the task can seem daunting, but with the number down to just eight in the second round, the choice can be made easier.

The first team that an Atlanta fan can root for is the Nashville Predators, my personal favorite. The Preds are close enough to Atlanta to have many of their games televised in this area, allowing fans to watch them more often than any other team in the NHL. The team also has one of the most exciting players in the entire league in P.K. Subban. Subban is one of the best defenceman, and his off-ice antics make him a fun player to follow. After beating the Avalanche in the first round, the Predators are set to matchup against the Winnipeg Jets in the second round.

If you’re a die-hard Atlanta fan, The Winnipeg Jets may be the team for you. The Jets are the only team to actually have ties to Atlanta. After some bad ownership decisions, the Atlanta Thrashers were forced to Winnipeg and became known as the Jets.

Easily, the most feel-good story in the NHL would be the Las Vegas Golden Knights. For the fans wanting to witness history in the making, the Golden Knights are the team to root for. The Knights are an expansion team that in it’s inaugural season posted a 51-24 record placing them first in the Pacific Division. Winning the Stanley Cup Playoffs would be the first time in the modern-era where an expansion team wins a championship in their first year of existence. First, the Golden Knights will have to beat the San Jose Sharks in the second round.

The final team that I would recommend rooting for is the Washington Capitals. While the Capitals are a powerhouse during the regular season, consistently reaching the playoffs, they always seem to choke in the playoffs. Since the new millenium, the Capitals have never made it past the second round in the playoffs. While Some call it a curse and some call it collapsing under pressure, the Caps are definitely a team that could be considered an underdog in the playoffs. A matchup against the two-time defending champions, Pittsburgh Penguins, will certainly make it difficult for the Capitals to progress past the second round.

While watching the NHL playoffs can be fun even without a team to root for, that excitement can be greatly increased when you have a team to back. Hopefully learning a little about some of the teams can help you make the decision on which team’s bandwagon to jump onto.