Finally, fall has arrived! Yes, we have finally broken away from the ridiculous and insufferable heat of North Carolina summers as the chill of September has finally rolled in and hit the state. While we still probably have another week or two of afternoons that can get a little warm, I would be shocked if we see another 80-degree day. And I am certain students can’t wait for all that autumn brings such as: the late afternoons falling into darkness, the scent of pumpkin and Halloween in the air, and of course, football and the baseball postseason. With so much to get excited for as a sports fan when it comes to October, there was much that happened in September that I learned.
1. For millennials, there was basketball before Michael Jordan
On Sept. 13, basketball legend Moses Malone passed away. A truly dominant defensive and offensive figure in the post, the “Chairman of the Boards” was one of the greatest centers in league history. However, many of today’s young basketball fans were unaware of who Malone was as a player. Though I had not celebrated my second birthday by the time he retired, I did feel heartbroken because I knew of Malone and his impact in basketball. Before high school prodigies like Kobe Bryant or Lebron James jumped straight to the NBA, it was Malone who was the first to do this in 1974. For my generation, I would like to tell them, basketball did not begin in 1980. When you have the chance and want to learn about the game, look up some stories and highlights of players like Malone, Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson who have heavily influenced the players of today.
2. Lack of attention for David Ortiz’s 500 home runs show remnants of Steroid Era
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the 500-Home Run Club seemingly added new members each season, Sportscenter would base the majority of their hour long show on the historical feat. However, in 2015, there was little fanfare when Boston Red Sox designated hitter (DH) David Ortiz reached the 500 home run milestone on Sept. 12. Baseball, a sport which based its foundation on statistics has been stripped of its nature due to the Steroid Era. Ortiz, who himself has been surrounded with rumors of performance-enhancing drug (PED) use, I think has little chance to reach Cooperstown for a few reasons. Not only does Edgar Martinez need to become the first DH in the Hall of Fame because he was better, Ortiz was not even the best player in the Steroid Era whose career has been mired in PED rumors. That distinction goes to players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. And if their low election numbers are any indication, Ortiz will have to wait a long time if he wants to get into Cooperstown.
3. Meet the once-again relevant Mets
As a former resident of the Tri-State area, the only consistent thing about the New York Mets, were their lack of consistent strong play. For this reason, I do root for the Mets, and am always excited whenever they field a competitive team. And for the first time since 2006, they have, as the Metropolitans clinched a playoff berth over the weekend. Not since the 2006 Mets, one of my favorite all-time teams, broke my heart nearly a decade ago, have fans of the Miracle Mets had much to get thrilled about. However, with October baseball returning to Queens, autumn just got a little bit better.
4. NFL’s injury problem will continue to cloud league’s future
Through the second week of the NFL season, according to the league’s injury report, nearly 15 percent of the players in the league have officially suffered injuries. A dark discussion hidden behind the bright lights of touchdowns, amazing catches, big hits and fantasy football has and needs to be further reviewed for the NFL. With such a tragic storm of concussions and injuries which affect players in retirement, the league is certainly blooming now, but in years down the road, it is a legitimate question to ask: will football still be as popular as it is today as parents direct their children to other, safer sports?
5. UNCG Volleyball sits high as best team on campus
While the volleyball team suffered this past weekend, losing two conference matches, Coach Carlin’s squad has still, without question, been the best athletic team on campus this semester. The team is currently 12-7 and has been one of the best in the Southern Conference this season. The team plays nothing but conference matches for the rest of the way, and have four home matches between Oct. 3 and Oct. 16. While both soccer teams have been inconsistent, and the cross country teams has been average, volleyball has been the most complete athletic team on campus.