In this week’s My Thoughts Exactly, Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson will discuss a sport’s stations obsession with the New York Jets, the other sports at NDSU and why the New York Mills legion baseball team doesn't look so bad anymore.
We have come to expect a bit of east coast bias from the world’s largest sports network, ESPN. You notice it when the New York Yankees win five straight games and get a ten-minute segment dedicated to them during Sportscenter. Meanwhile, the A’s are 2 ½ games out of the Wild Card after taking 19 of their last 22, and they get a little stat box at the bottom of the hour.
We notice it when Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks has a handful of good games and ESPN’s show Outside The Lines dedicates an entire in-depth interview to the young man. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves’s Kevin Love is becoming one of the most dominating forwards in the game, collecting double-doubles like their seashells on a beach. He gets a passing mention on his play with an in-highlight stat.
Fine. We get it that you’re based on the east coast and they have the biggest viewership, money, population, etc… However, for everybody else, a.k.a. the rest of the nation, we believe you have gone too far.
The coverage ESPN has given the New York Jets, New York’s second best football team, has grown to nauseating proportions. Every 30 minute segment of Sportscenter includes an update from the Jets’ camp. Unless someone’s leg has been ripped off, we do not care that much about the Jets.
In fact, unless I’m in the teams region, I don’t want an update every 30 minutes on any team! It’s the pre-season! I don’t care about Tim Tebow taking more snaps with the first team offense than Mark Sanchez. In my mind, they are both the most overrated quarterbacks in the league. I would say ever, but I think Joe Namath takes that cake by a mile.
I’m guessing everybody that now works at ESPN has never played football. They have never been running mind numbing drills for hours during the summer heat in what they absurdly call “fall camp.” Even in high school, tempers flare because you are tired, hot and grumpy. You’d rather take an opponent down to the ground, but the only person present to take out your frustration on is your teammate.
Scuffles are bound to happen and that doesn’t mean there is a riff within the team. The team is like a family, a family doesn’t always get along and when that happens, they fights. I was on the ledge in my relationship with ESPN. I have now taken the final step and will only use the channel for a live sporting event.
I’m sure they will still find a way to give me a live update from the New York Jets camp during the Little League World Series.
North Dakota State University and their football team will be discussed at great length this fall and rightfully so. They are the region’s most popular collegiate gridiron team and the anticipation for the upcoming season has reached a fever pitch after winning the 2011 National Championship. However, I think it is my duty to remind everybody that they are not the only successful athletic team on the campus.
To start with, the NDSU soccer team is coming off another successful year that saw them come within a goal of going back to the NCAA tournament. A team that went 7-0-1 at home, 4-0 in conference games at home and 16-1-1 in the last two years at home.
A combined 27-9-8 in the last two years, the Bison forced a nationally ranked Texas A&M team to penalty kicks in the first round of the NCAA tournament two years ago. Needless to say, they were good and did it largely under the radar. This year, however, is going to be an adjustment.
To start with, it is a largely unproven roster. Seven starters from last year’s team are gone, including Summit League Defensive Player of the Year Abbey (Stratton) Moenkedick. There are only four seniors on the roster and two of the returning starters were honored last year. Holly Christian was an All-Summit League second team performer and Taylor Stainbrook made the Summit League All-Freshman Team.
On top of that, the team will be welcoming in new head coach Mark Cook, who is not only in his first season as the Bison head coach, but also his first season coaching collegiately. The Bison will face some growing pains, but in the end should make the conference tournament.
The NDSU volleyball team is the other fall athletic team you need to pay attention to. In the last four years, the Bison have only missed qualifying for the NCAA tournament once. During those four years, they were lead by Chrissy Knuth and Jennifer Lopez. Both players could end up in the NDSU Athletic Hall of Fame at some point and are not players you simply replace.
The Bison do return three very important pieces to a team that looks to make the NCAA tournament for a third straight year. Senior Brynn Joki was an All-Summit League second team performer and led the team with 397 kills and 36 serving aces.
Senior Megan Lambertson made All-Summit League first team and had 308 kills with an unbelievable .410 hitting percentage. She was also second on the team with 81 total blocks. Sophomore Lauren Cammack, a Summit League All-Freshman performer, is the x-factor for this team in 2012.
An outside hitter, she had 233 kills and 31 serving aces in 90 sets played during the season. If she can become more consistent, she had 34 serving and 101 attacking errors, she will be a force to be reckoned with on the outside.
While most people will be standing in line, either waiting or hoping to get in to the Fargodome to watch the Bison football team, you have to remember that NDSU offers many more options for a sports fan when it comes to quality athletics. Do not forget the other teams on campus.
Last time I wrote this column, I ranted and raved about how upsetting it was to hear the coach from the New York Mills legion baseball team could actually put his team in a position to walk away from a difficult situation without trying to overcome adversity. Well, the story of District 9 Legion baseball in Minnesota gets even stranger.
The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton legion baseball team was the biggest benefactor from New York Mills forfeiting the championship game. D-G-F was the team that got to represent District 9 in the Division II Legion State Tournament. The fact that their opportunity was so unique, they would treat it as such. This was not the case.
Evidently, they got a little too rowdy at the hotel they were staying at in Granit Falls, Minn. Because of this, they were disqualified from the state tournament, a tournament that they had won the first two games in and were looking to qualify for the regional tournament being held in Wahpeton, N.D.
I got after the coach of New York Mills last time and this time is no different. The head coach for D-G-F, Al Krueger, needs to stop any kind of action that is detrimental to his team before it starts. Understand, you have a group of teenagers who are having the time of their lives. They are heading to the state tournament which means their summer continues for another week at least.
You gather the team before the bus leaves for the tournament and explain how much fun this is but you also have a responsibility to your towns with your actions. Behave yourself and carry yourself in a manner that would make your families and friends proud.
In my mind, I see this “boys will be boys” attitude towards the actions of the players. Regardless how harmless the actions of the team was, you don’t even allow them to think that this is okay. If after the opening statement about conducting yourself, they still act up, you personally suspend the players involved. This sends the message that you’re not joking around.
I was on a team that went to the state basketball tournament in North Dakota and we were away from school and our parents for about a week. I know that you can’t always stop the actions of teenage boys and they are going to goof off regardless. However, we got the fact that we were in a unique place. We got that because not only did we realize it, but we were told as much.
I don’t know Mr. Kruger nor do I know the kids that caused the damage at the hotel in Granite Falls. I do know that, again, I’m talking about kids that lost out on a chance to make some good lasting memories and instead are now remembering a negative ending to a promising tournament.
Some of the blame does lie on the kids, no question, but more of the blame goes to the coach of D-G-F.