I’ve been on the 2013 Cornell Lacrosse bandwagon since August 2nd, 2012. That’s the day the Ivy League granted Rob Pannell a 5th year of eligibility and essentially granted Cornell the opportunity to win a National Championship. Would this team have been good without Rob? Absolutely. They just wouldn’t have had the confidence or the will to win a National Title.
They want to win this championship with Rob, but they also want to win it FOR Rob. We’ve seen it all post-season long – Underclassmen are playing like seniors, realizing that despite additional eligibility, this is almost certainly their last chance to win the big trophy. Cornell is waffle-stomping everyone in their path, including a team that had been ranked #1 in the nation for the majority of the season (Maryland) and the tournament’s #3 seed (Ohio State). No one can get in the way of what Cornell is doing right now. There is too much passion and will – as well as talent – for anyone to stop the Big Red Machine.
So why are the Big Red so good?
Attack: Almost certainly the best in the nation, Cornell’s offense is led by one of the greatest creators of all-time, Rob Pannell. He can dodge, he can finish and he can pass. There’s not much Rob Pannell can’t do. He’ll almost certainly win this year’s Tewaaraton Trophy as the nation’s best player. He’s conveniently paired with his own heir-apparent, the talented sophomore creator and scorer Matt Donovan. With those two is Steve Mock, who may be the best pure finisher in college lacrosse. So who’s going to stop Cornell’s attack? I’ll give you a hint. Nobody.
Offensive Midfield: Max VanBourgondien stepped up big last season in Rob Pannell’s absence and became a leader in the midfield. Paired with sharp-shooting Sophomore Connor Buczek and former Virginia Attackman-turned-Middie Connor English, Cornell’s offensive midfield is among the best in the country and can dominate whenever the opposing defense can keep Pannell and the attack under control. Which isn’t often.
Defensive Midfield: Thomas Keith is among the best ground ball men in the game. Tom Trasolini leads by example, always putting forth a full workman-like effort.
Defense: Though inconsistent during the regular season, the Cornell defensive unit has been forcing turnovers in bunches throughout the postseason. They’ve also been forcing teams to take shots that goalkeeper AJ Fiore can easily handle. Fiore’s consistent improvement is helping, too. With Mike Bronzino coming off the bench, this Ben Deluca-coached defense also has depth. As long as they communicate and remain focused, they’ll be a tough nut to crack.
I predicted an undefeated National Championship season for Cornell lacrosse in the preseason. They’re incredibly balanced, they have depth, they have star power and I couldn’t see anyone beating them. Eventually some issues caught up with Corenll, as poor defensive play and goaltending allowed Syracuse and Princeton to get regular-season wins over the Red and an overall lackluster effort condemned them to an early-season defeat at the hands of Bucknell. But that inconsistent Big Red Lacrosse team isn’t the one I expected to see on the field. They weren’t playing to their potential. I made my prediction based on what this team COULD be – and SHOULD be.
The team we’ve seen the last two weeks is the team I picked to win it all. After outscoring Maryland and Ohio State by a combined 32-14, can you see anyone beating them right now?
As another winter sports season comes to an end I can’t help but notice a strange shift in my sports passion. I’m much more excited for the NBA playoffs than normal, anticipating big things from the New York Knicks and wondering if anyone can stop the Miami Heat. Even more perplexing, I’m less excited than normal for the NHL playoffs, though I concede that anyone – literally anyone – could end up winning the Stanley Cup. So why am I more excited for the playoff stretch that is seemingly predetermined and less excited for the one that will prove to be competitive and hard-fought?
I’ve decided it’s the result of two factors – local team success (Knicks/Nets = Good, Sabres/Rangers Islanders = Bad) and anticipation. We’ve been anticipating the NBA playoffs longer because the teams played an entire season. We’ve seen storylines detailing the Knicks’ rise, the Heat’s win streak, the Lakers’ futility and the Thunder’s continued small-market success. The NBA has been in our faces since October. The NHL, on the other hand, aggravated its fans with a long lockout and a shortened season. Though the league is primarily concerned with winning back the fans it lost, it also needs to find a way to re-invigorate the fans that stayed. A long-time Sabres fan, I have had nothing to root for all year long. Buffalo stinks. Unless the rest of hockey is exciting I don’t pay much attention. The Blackhawks started the year with the league’s longest unbeaten streak, but there were few other noteworthy stories this season. The NHL has been on the back-burner.
So can the NHL ultimately re-capture our attention and out-do the NBA playoffs? Absolutely. Here’s how: The NHL needs rivalry matchups that go 6 or 7 games with extreme animosity, fights and drama. The NHL needs its starts to step up and shine. The NHL needs upsets. And it needs them in the first and/or second round to encourage people to watch rounds 3 and 4. On the other hand, the NBA could also falter. If every series ends up being “chalk”, the Heat crush every opponent in 4 games and all the big-market teams (NY, LA, Chicago and Boston) are gone before the conference finals, the NBA could see a drop in excitement – which might be to the NHL’s benefit.
This might all be a moot point, as the NBA playoffs are here and the NHL playoffs are still a week away. If the NHL has an exciting finish and sees multiple teams punch their playoff tickets on the final day or two of the season, my excitement level may rebound before we even get to the postseason. Or maybe I’m perceiving something that doesn’t exist and I’ll be excited for the NHL playoffs as soon as they arrive, regardless of the way I feel right now. Either way, the NHL hasn’t gripped my interest yet this season. It’s really a shame, too – Hockey is my favorite sport.
For years the cold, calm silence of Lynah Rink at 5:45pm on a Friday or Saturday night was my safe haven. Nothing could go wrong. There was no place I’d rather be. Hockey was on the way. Soon a herd of drunken frat boys, Ugg-footed scantily-clad ladies and die-hard “townies” would descend on my safe haven to transform it into the loudest, most energy-packed building in the state.
More than a decade later, much has changed. The faces, names and numbers are very different – both on and off the ice. The team is struggling. But the one thing that has never changed is the wonder of Lynah rink during a Cornell men’s hockey game. No other venue comes close.
When “Good Evening, Hockey Fans” fills my ears, it also fills my heart. I feel those four words. They evoke tradition, excitement and passion. The fans’ cheers – passed down from generation to generation – also evoke that tradition and excitement. The feeling of pure euphoria when Cornell scores a goal is unmatched. Rabid hockey fans may not want to believe it, but visiting Lynah is as much about the experience as it is about the game itself.
So what changes when the team is down on its luck? Nothing. Lynah will still be the same packed house full of rabid, screaming fans. Everyone will have fun cheering on the Red, win or lose.
Like many long-time Cornell fans, I’m not thrilled about the Red’s lackluster effort this season. They have a ton of talent and are vastly underperforming. That said, I’ll never stop wanting to watch them play.
Let’s Go Red.
Good idea, IOC. Ban Wrestling - One of the Olympic Games’ founding sports - from competition beginning in 2020. What’s next – Track and Field?
There is no logical explanation for why Field Hockey, Taekwondo, and Modern Pentathlon are a better fit for the Olympics than Wrestling. Let’s take them one-by-one:
Field Hockey is a sport that, in the US, is regarded as a women’s sport. Why? Because we figured out that it is much more interesting to play hockey on ice. Also, crouching sucks. Seriously – what 6-foot tall athlete wants to destroy his back trying to bend over to use one of those itty bitty field hockey sticks?
Taekwondo is similar to boxing. It’s hand-to-hand combat that no one watches or cares about. Do I mind its inclusion in the Olympics? No. But there’s no way it’s more worthy of Olympic inclusion than Wrestling.
Modern Pentathlon involves running, swimming, horse jumping, shooting and fencing. Is anyone watching that? Seriously – when is the last time you watched the Olympic Modern Pentathlon on television? Did you even know what the five events were as of 10 seconds ago? This is an event developed to showcase 19th century Calvary soldiers’ skills. When is the last time you saw a soldier on a horse? Could there be a more outdated sport? Instead of Modern Pentathlon, let’s create a new sport – Super Modern Pentathlon. The five events will be Automatic Weapon Paintball, long-range missile targeting, F-15 flying (judged like figure skating), IED disarming and a 26-language spelling bee. At least that competition would test the applicable skills of today’s soldiers.
Now let’s look at Olympic sports that were NOT considered for exile:
Golf was just added, but do we really need Olympic golf? The best in the world gather every week on the PGA Tour. There is no reason to gather them together for one extra tournament every four years.
Equestrian Dressage (part of the overall Equestrian competition) is worse than watching paint dry. I’m sure it’s lovely when you know what’s going on, but to the untrained eye it is no better than watching a dog show. There is a lot of parading around but nobody is actually doing anything. The rest of the Equestrian competition (namely horse jumping) is acceptable, but dressage is bad enough that I had to bash it.
Synchronized Swimming is not a sport. It’s dancing in water.
Ping Pong is not a sport. It’s a bar game.
I realize that the title is “The Olympic Games” and not “The Olympic Sports”, but what’s next? Foosball? If so, I have a good shot at Rio 2016.
Another argument – why do they need to eliminate any sports? As our world continues to become more diverse, new sports should be allowed inclusion without forcing older sports to be retired. The committee should consider eliminating sports that no longer need to be a part of the Olympics (Modern Pentathlon…) while also adding new ones. There shouldn’t be pressure to always eliminate a sport to make way for a new one.
The Olympics are meant to bring together the best in the world once every four years to compete for what is, essentially, a world championship. That goal was noble many years ago, but in some sports it no longer holds the same meaning. The NBA title, Stanley Cup and World Series trophy are more sought after than a gold medal in their respective sports. The World Cup title is the pinnacle of the soccer world. Olympic soccer doesn’t even include many of the world’s best players, as it is mostly for those under the age of 23. Baseball is no longer an Olympic sport but has applied for inclusion in 2020. Why bother? The best in the world play in the Major Leagues – and those players won’t be competing at the Olympics because the MLB doesn’t take a break to allow it. Is there a single golfer in the world who would rather win a Gold medal than the Masters? I highly doubt it.
This is in stark contrast to the sport of wrestling. Young grapplers aspire to be NCAA Champions and Olympic Gold Medalists. The Olympics is the pinnacle of the sport. Without its biggest competition, what does wrestling become? Do those young kids grow up wanting to be World Champions, crowned at a competition that largely goes unnoticed by the majority of America?
This situation sheds new light on the IOC and the nature of the Olympics. Politics clearly play a factor. Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. currently serves as an IOC board member AND the Vice President of Modern Pentathlon’s governing body. He’s also the son of the former head of the IOC. His ties to both parties raise doubt – at least in my mind – that Wrestling was given a fair “trial”.
This decision will be met with strong, swift opposition. I truly believe the IOC will be forced to fix their grievous error before a single Olympics is held without the sport of wrestling.
Each year, the Super Bowl brings with it a bevy of random, stupid things for bored people to bet on. We've collected as many of these strange bets as possible and placed them here for your enjoyment. Will Eric win? Will Matt win? Check below to see this year's prop bets and the guys' 2013 Super Bowl picks.
One March evening in St. Louis, partisanship was put on hold. Disregarding the colors and logos emblazoned on their shirts, Cornell, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Lehigh, and many other schools’ fans stood in unison to recognize an unprecedented accomplishment. Kyle Dake had just won his third consecutive NCAA Title in a third different weight class. Iowa fans – upset by their athlete’s loss to Dake in the NCAA final – began to boo the Cornell Junior during his post-match ESPN interview. All at once, the crowd at the Scottrade Center shot to their feet to shower Dake with the loudest, longest standing ovation you could ever imagine. Do I remember Dake’s win over Derek St. John as my most memorable moment of 2012? Absolutely not. It was that brief instant when 20,000 people stood in unison to pay respect to Kyle Dake’s achievement, as tears welled up inside me, overcome with inexplicable pride for a young man I held in the highest regard, that was my most memorable moment of 2012.
It’s interesting to note what we find as “most memorable”. Often times it’s the event at which we had the most visceral reaction. For many long-suffering Mets fans, Johan Santana’s no-hitter may have been that moment, as decades without a no-no went by the wayside in one miraculous evening. For local racing fans, Marcos Ambrose’s fantastic finish at The Glen may have been their favorite moment of the year.
So what’s your favorite moment, and why? Post below – selected entries may be discussed on Between the Lines!