Five Lessons I learned in September

By Matthew Johnson, Sports Editor

Published in print Oct. 1, 2014

One of my favorite poems, written by NFL Films co-founder Steve Sabol compares the autumn wind to that of a pirate. A raider who “growls as he storms the country, a villain big and bold,” the first month of fall is as unforgiving as the reality that the beach will be out of sight for the next nine months. As the first wind of fall blustered last week, the autumn breeze took no prisoners as the gust proudly “[knocked us] ‘round and upside down…” as the drop in temperature last week moved students to don their hoodies. Bundled in their warmest of clothing, the sports world took the air from my breath multiple times in September. 

Re2pect was earned throughout career

In a send-off which lasted from his spring training announcement that this was to be his final season in baseball to his emotional, final ovation in the enemy’s territory of Boston, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter demonstrated throughout his career a respectful approach to the national pastime which will echo eternal in the game’s history. The biracial angel graced hollow Yankee Stadium so steadily for 20 seasons, his play would easily stir the legends of yesterday in Ruth, Gehrig, and DiMaggio to tip their cap to the longtime shortstop. In an era of deception which shook baseball to its core, Jeter went out each game exhibiting the standards of determination and respect that every sports fan would appreciate.

NFL’s image problem is one of concern

Prophesying (perhaps from a shark tank) that the nation’s most popular game would succumb from its own hubris in March, NBA owner Mark Cuban once again looks like the most in touch billion who can relate to us proletariats. Stemming from off the field arrest towards domestic violence of women and children, NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson legal troubles, which may had been a pebble in a tranquil NFL pond years ago, has tsunamied into a national backlash against the league’s handling of off the field issues. Still posting highs in tv viewership, the NFL will need to tread carefully these next months as the league’s decision regarding the players arrested these past weeks could reverberate so harshly, fans may stop tuning in to America’s favorite television show.

Calls for Hope’s punishment are mute

Similar to acts committed by multiple NFL players this offseason, USA Women’s Soccer star Hope Solo found herself in legal trouble in her offseason. Charged with misdemeanor counts of domestic violence assault, Solo has had the full backing of Team USA. Yet, unlike the rightfully charged crusades to punish severely NFL players for committing domestic violence, the criticisms for Solo have been far less passionate. Of course the NFL receives far more spotlight as the sport is much more popular than Women’s Soccer, yet, Solo is the sport’s brightest star and in society which treasures its supposed belief in equality, Solo, akin to her NFL counterparts, should receive some sort of punishment for the acts she committed.

Will Jameis Winston ever learn? 

Last year’s Heisman winner has garnered deserved praise for his play on the field, but it is his unawareness off the field would cause the NFL general manager in me to stay as far away as possible if I had a chance to select Winston. Suspended a full game for shouting an obscenity at his university’s student union, though other students shouted the same phrase, Winston must be aware of the position he is in as his team’s quarterback. Multiple run-ins with the law would not have me risk my NFL franchise in an immature, uninformed college athlete who believes the world is his inheritance and that he can do whatever he pleases.

Volleyball looks like UNCG’s best team

Having attended women’s and men’s soccer games this first full month of school, from what I have seen, I have been most pleased with the play of the volleyball team. Though they struggled two weeks ago in the Miami Challenge, the volleyball team, led by new head coach Corey Carlin seemed to have turned the program around from an average team with strong talent to an above average team. While women’s soccer has played well under new coach Michael Coll, volleyball has been the most consistent team on campus in September.         

Categories: matthew johnson, Sports

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