Goodbye decorative witches, spider and bats and hello to decorative Santas, candy canes and trees. Yes, the beginning of the month of November marks the beginning of the two month Holiday season that will continue until 2018. And I’m sure you will find at least two or three turkeys and cornucopias sprinkled in there just as a reminder that Thanksgiving is it’s own holiday and not just the origin film for the Christmas team up. So let us that this time to look back on what we learned in the world of athletics over the past 31 days.
- Cam Newton is Annoying
For a quarterback who, admittedly, is the most talented quarterback in football, Newton’s plays and emotional maturity is still at an inconstant level. He opened the month by losing his popular Dannon endorsement deal following an uncomfortable exchange with a female report at the Charlotte Observer where he said it was “funny” to hear a female talk about routes. The month continued with Newton’s and the Panthers’ inconsistent play dropping them out of first place in the NFC South, and concluded with Cam prematurely walking out of press conference. The only thing that seems to be consistent about Cam Newton is that his attire is as ridiculous as his decision making in the pocket.
- There is No Point in Watching the Eastern Conference
The Gordon Hayward injury to open up the NBA season essentially put the nail in the coffin for the Eastern Conference. Boston, who had bought Hayward from Utah in free agency, as well as acquiring Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers, were the only team in the Conference that was believed to have any real shot at dethroning the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Hayward’s season ending ankle injury effectively put the kibosh on those plans. Now the Western Conference will remain, relatively interesting, despite the embarrassment of riches the Golden State Warriors boast. You can never count out the San Antonio Spurs, who seem to age like fine wine. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be a team to look at with off-season acquisitions, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and the Houston Rockets with adding Chris Paul. So at least there are teams that have a longshot against the defending champions. But outside of injuries, the East belongs to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
- Mens Soccer Reach Peak at the End
Ranked No. 3 in the preseason polling, the men’s soccer team knew how to lower those expectations early in the season. After their first five matches, the team had gone 0-4-1 while only able to score two goals. Since then however, the team had lost only two matches for the rest of the season. Within the Southern Conference, the team has scored a conference high 20 goals in nine conference matches, and average almost sixteen shots per match. Juniors Jon Milligan and Leeroy Maguraushe both were named Players of the Week at different points in the season. Sophomore defender, Casey Penland just achieved that distinction in the third week of October when his second goal of the season against Mercer took the game to overtime. With the SoCon tournament opening this week, the soccer team are playing the best they had all season.
- Future of Baseball
The month of October means the beginning of the MLB postseason. And with the playoffs winding down, as the Dodgers and Astros battle each other for the World Series title, we can look back on the postseason and predict what the future holds for the great American Pastime. In the American League, it looks like the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees will become staples in October for the next few years. Both teams feature a core of star players not old enough to rent automobiles. What we can learn in the National League is that the Nationals, for as good as they are in the regular season, is missing that special quality that puts them below a team like the Chicago Cubs. The National League West next year will definitely be an interesting watch, as three different NL West teams found themselves in the postseason, one of which not being the three time champions San Francisco Giants, who have been rumored to be going after superstar Giancarlo Stanton this winter. So as good as this October has been, I can’t wait until next year’s October.
- US Soccer’s Upset
The middle of October saw the US men’s national soccer team be eliminated from next year’s World Cup by losing to underdogs, Trinidad and Tobago 2-1. In disgrace, coach Bruce Arena resigned three days following the defeat. And if the 1992 “Dream Team,” taught us anything, is that when the United States lose in sports, we tend to go a little crazy. We can lose in math, science, happiness, health care, poverty, drugs, prisons and obesity, but when one nation’s millionaires playing a child’s game beat our millionaires playing a child’s game, then we get mad. Expect the United States international soccer organization to spend the next few years overhauling itself and altering the culture. A culture that awards being included instead of victory.