Sunday, October 31, 2010

Boys soccer wins thriller; Team makes state tournament

When Senior Captain Christian Fischer booted the ball down field, his intention was not to score.  He was merely clearing the ball from dangerous territory for the Spy Ponders, and sending a lead pass to sophomore standout Fernando Cuervo-Torello. 
However, much to the jubilation of Fischer and the rest of his team, the ball took a favorable bounce over the head of the Weston goalie and found the back of the net.  It was a true miracle for Arlington’s players and their enthusiastic fans.
Fischer’s spectacular goal, midway through the second half, was from 60 yards out.  The timely strike gave the Ponders a 2-1 win over the Weston Wildcats, and launched the team into the state tournament.
Coming into the DCL matchup with the Wildcats, the Ponders needed a win to make the tournament.  A tie would not suffice; with a tie, the team’s season would come to an abrupt end. 
Last year, the squad defeated Weston 4-2 in the final game of the season to enter the tournament.  This year, a similar outcome occurred.  The Ponders doubled up the Wildcats and danced their way into the tourney in dramatic fashion.
Nick Coleman, a senior captain for the Ponders, scored the opening goal, heading the ball past Weston’s keeper in the first half.  Coleman leads the team in scoring, notching his 11th goal of the season in this critical game.
Senior Night at Peirce Field added to the thrill of the evening.  Recognized for their contributions to AHS soccer were: Coleman, Fischer, tri-captain Trevor O’Brien-Jones, Chris Hamblin, Sam Mintz, Joey Lafyatis, Adam Long, Yannick Doyle, Kevin Casey, Otto Briner, Lewis Band, Joe Owayda, Nick Mongold, and exchange student Dennis Kretschmer.  Prior to the match, the players were escorted to their parents by members of Arlington’s youth soccer teams in a celebratory tribute.
Leadership from the seniors was evident throughout the contest.  The goals by Coleman and Fischer were instrumental in the team’s success.  Hamblin, Long, and Mintz also played well for Arlington.  Hamblin had a few headers that nearly snuck by the Weston goalie, Mintz was aggressive throughout, and Long played stalwart defense.
With the victory, these seniors know they will play at least one more game.  They have a chance to excel in the playoffs and keep their season alive, much like they did on this Friday night classic.
Juniors Graham McInnis, Matt Wah, Sam Rivera, and Ryan Salocks played solid soccer in full-throttle throughout the match.  Sophomore keeper Sam Flavin was extremely sturdy in net.  With the exception of a goal allowed to Weston’s Adam Stewart early in the second half, Flavin’s performance was flawless.
The match was a nail-biter throughout.  Ball possession was relatively even and there was constant intensity from both sides. 
With Christian Fischer’s improbable goal, the Ponders are now in the state tournament, and will begin playoff action next week.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Power of Green

     As I entered the TD Garden, my mind was racing rapidly and I was unable to control my emotion.  After four months of waiting, it was finally here.  The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat were about to actually play THE game.
     Typically, when there is as much hype around a game as there was for this one, the game disappoints and lacks huzzah.  This game, however, exceeded expectations and was simply brilliant.  I can safely say that between the rambunctious, cohesive enthusiasm of the crowd and the final outcome of the game, it was the best sporting event I have ever been to.
     When I first entered the stadium, I was immediately taken aback by the circular sea of green.  Every seat in the Garden was covered with a massive green shirt.  Instead of the typical putrid Lakers-like yellow seats, the arena was engulfed by Celtics Green.
     As the players warmed up and prepared for the long-awaited game, I watched in detail, following their every move and analyzing their potential and role on a team full of capable players.  Ray Allen drained three after three, KG knocked down jumper after jumper, and Shaq threw down a plethora of ferocious, powerhouse dunks with the utmost authority.
     After watching an incredible pump-up video on the big screen and announcing the starting lineups with the PA man verbatim, it was time...
     The game.
     Watching my team play defense in the first quarter  made me proud to be die-hard Celtics fan.  Allowing only nine points the "unbelievably explosive, probable 82-0 Miami Heat" was quite a feat.  I then noticed that the behavior I was watching in warm-ups carried over perfectly into the actual game.  Ray Allen practices his jump shot for hours on end, taking hundreds of J's every single day.  That is precisely why he nailed a dagger three-pointer with 49 seconds left that gave the Celtics an 86-80 lead; practice.
     With the exception of Allen Iverson, (i.e., "Practice, you talkin' about practice?  You kiddin' me?  Practice?") "they" always say that practice makes perfect.  Does it?  I think so.  Ray Allen's practice gave me personally a perfect experience.  Admiring his picture-perfect release was unbelievable.
     Every time the Celtics scored, I immediately skyrocketed out of my seat, pound my chest like an animal in exhilaration and cheering incessantly.  From Big Baby's intelligent charge, to Nate Robinson's finesse finish, to the Big Shamroq's thunderous throw-downs, I loved every second of the game last night.
     The unity of the crowd was the most amazing thing about the whole evening.  I have never been a part of such a unified group.  With the exception of the LeBron fan in front of me, the vast majority of people were completely immersed in the game, and rowdily encouraging the Celts.  I quelled the LeBaby fan's antics in the first quarter by literally taking the sign out of his hand that said "Witness the King."  I kept the sign under my seat, while the kid gloomily watched his team get outplayed by a better team (the Boston Celtics, in case you were unaware of to which team I was referring).  To my right, someone had a sign that said, "Queen James."  Amen to that (sister).
     Say what you want about the Heat.   Sure, they have potential to be a phenomenal team.  I still think they'll have the best record in the East.  Last night, however, we were the better team.  Five players scored in double figures and Rondo dealt out 17 dimes.  Sweet.
     Overall, it was a night to remember.  I will never forget entering the Garden and seeing the swarm of green, Paul Pierce's clutch jumpers, and the consistent emotion of the crowd.  When Ray Allen swished the three in the final minute, the place absolutely erupted, like a volcano.  The roof literally exploded and shot into oblivion. 20,000 people jumped up and down in jubilation like children.  That is the beauty of the game of basketball.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sasha Vujacic and Maria Sharapova

     The fact that Sasha Vujacic and Maria Sharapova are getting married is repulsive.  It makes me want to vomit incessantly. Vujacic is the worst player in the NBA, hands down.  I'm not even kidding.  He's an average outside shooter and every other aspect of his game is atrocious.  I guess he handles his game better with the ladies...?
     While Vujacic is a doofus, Maria Sharapova is probably the most attractive female athlete in the world.  Her legs are as long as the Nile.  Sure, the whole 6'3 thing is a bit of a turn off.   She's about twice my height.  But something about her is special.
     So my question is, how does someone like Vujacic get someone like Sharapova?
     Money?  No, she probably makes more than he does.  That option's out.  Looks?  No, he looks like he hasn't shaved in months and his feminine hair flows past his shoulders.  Success?  Sure, he physically has two rings.  However, the reason he has those rings is because of Kobe Bryant.  Without Vujacic, the Lakers would have probably done better and won the Championship more easily.  He just gets in the way.  He's an extra body out there, excess garbage; a genuine hooligan.
     I guess Sharapova is into foolish people.  Maybe I have a chance?  Nah...I'm not nearly as foolish as Sasha. Wait, isn't Sasha a girl's name?

Monday, October 18, 2010

NFL Hullabaloo

     Six weeks into the NFL season, I am confident about one thing: that I have absolutely no confidence about my picks anymore.  As ironic as this is, it's complete fact.  My predictions are abysmal, but who can blame me?  This NFL season has been full of incessant upsets, week after week.  That's what makes football so special.
     This week for example, the Rams (yes those same Rams who won a whopping one game last season) beat the Chargers.  The Seahawks beat the Bears 23-20.  And most shocking of all, the Cowboys, the COWBOYS, dropped to 1-4.  1-4 isn't exactly a dynamite record.  They say everything's bigger in Texas.  What are they referring to...disappointment?  It sure seems that way.  We're talking about a lethal Cowboys team, one with Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Tony Romo, and Jason Witten.  These players are perennial all-stars.  The Cowboys are a perennial playoff contender.  This year however, I predict they'll finish out the year 8-8 and just miss the playoffs.  Although, then again, I guarantee this prediction will be wrong, just as nearly all of my others have been so far this season.
     Here is objective list of the five best teams in the NFL after Week 6.
Trevor's Top Five
5) Indianapolis Colts (4-2)- Manning will lead them to another division title.  They make the playoffs every year and there's no reason that will change this season.
4) New York Giants (4-2)- After an abysmal start, the Giants have looked virtually unstoppable lately.  Their defense has been stellar and Eli's finally stepping up and looking long for Hakeem Nicks.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers- (4-1)- Big Ben is finally back, and that means the Steelers are back too.  Somehow they managed to go 3-1 in his absence, yet now that he's maid his anticipated return they Steelers are a serious contender.  Everyone already knows how ferocious their rush defense is.
2) New England Patriots (4-1)- The Pats have already beaten the Dolphins, Ravens, and Bengals, three possible playoff contenders.  It's safe to say that Brady is having another pro-bowl caliber year, despite recent rumors that he's copying Justin Bieber's haircut! OMG!  Now that Deion Branch is back, the loss of Randy Moss is irrelevant. His shoes will be filled by Branch and Aaron Hernandez quite nicely, so to speak.
1) New York Jets- (4-1)- As much as I hate to say it, the J-E-T-S are currently the best team in the NFL.  Their impressive win over the Pats in Week 2 gave them a lot of momentum and they essentially cemented their position as the front runners in the AFC.  I wouldn't be surprised if they got the number one seed.  LT has been off the hizzy, the D is monstrous, and Sanchez is improving quickly...a little too quickly.

     I know the Texans, Eagles, Ravens, Saints, Packers, Dolphins, and Bears were left off this list.  I'm not making a Top 12 here; this is merely the Top 5 teams from my perspective.  I envision the Jets and Patriots emerging as the top two teams in the East record-wise, while I think the Giants and Saints will finish 1st and 2nd respectively in the NFC.

     But hey, my predictions have been horrific.  I'm not gonna lie.  Justin Bieber tore apart Tom Brady.  Heck, so did Randy Moss.  I guess Tom Brady's not perfect.  Neither am I.  My picks up to this point are atrocious.    With that said, I'm fairly confident in my Top 5.

     The NFL has been full of surprises.  This shouldn't come as a surprise, considering it's almost Halloween.  The NFL is haunted with mysterious upsets that leave you shaking in your boots.  This year is honestly a toss-up.  There are so many above-average teams that have a chance to do some damage in the playoffs.  It will be all about momentum heading into December.  The team that gets hot in Week 16 and Week 17 will indubitably be the Super Bowl Champion.  Dare I say it'll be the Patriots?  Nah, I don't want to jinx anything.

     Although,  if I pulled a double-reverse and picked the Patriots to lose the Super Bowl, wouldn't my pick be counteracted?  Wouldn't the Patriots then automatically, inevitably win the Super Bowl?  Hmm, interesting philosophy.  That's so crazy that it just might work.

Farris vs. Coleman-Soccer rivalry heats up

           Off the field, seniors Nick Coleman and Alex Farris are great friends.  Nick is dating one of Alex’s best friends, Taylor King.  On the field however, their friendship ends, and an intense rivalry brews.
            Coleman and Farris currently each have five goals, leading their respective teams.  While Coleman relies on his rock solid head and field awareness to craftily score goals, Farris uses her blazing speed and deceptive dribbling skills to elude defenders and place the ball into the net.
            Farris and Coleman have many things in common from a soccer standpoint.  They both are constantly around the ball, are fierce competitors, and  are extremely skilled.  Yet, the number one trait they have in common is that they want to be the best, to be nĂºmero uno. 
            These two studs are in a ferocious rivalry to outdo the other and score more goals by the end of the season.
            Farris says, “Starting freshman year, we played on an indoor team.  We were very competitive with who scored more goals, and that’s carried over to this year.  We want to show each other up.”
            Unfortunately for Coleman, Farris has a slight edge now.  Nick “Scar” Coleman, as he’s now known by his fans, suffered a brutal injury in a 1-1 tie against Waltham.  Coleman got head butted and was taken to the hospital and received six stitches.  His one-week absence allowed Farris to get more playing time and she has a chance to take a 7-6 lead.
            “The majority of my goals have been headers or from free kicks,” says Coleman.  “She’s more technically skilled in her soccer playing, but I use the skills that I have to my advantage.”
            Coleman adds, “I’m committed to beating Alex in goal scoring.  It’s my first year playing midfield on Varsity.  We’re tied right now.  I want to beat her.  ‘Nuff said.”
            I sat down with Coleman and Farris individually, and there was some evident trash talking from both stars.
            “Scoring goals is one thing, but bringing moral leadership and supplying passion is what my real goal is,” exclaims Coleman.  “In fact, it’s my greatest goal of all.”
            Coleman followed up with a controversial remark, saying, “Alex could have a lot more potential in soccer if she didn’t spend so much time focusing on cats.”  Coleman, meanwhile, tries to act like a cool cat himself, hanging around Taylor King in the cafeteria.
            Anyone who knows Farris well is fully aware of her obsession with cats.  Coleman questions whether soccer is as important to Farris as cats are. 
            Jesse Weiss, a friend of both Coleman and Farris, says, “The two of them are great.  I’m interested to see how this rivalry will end.”
            As long as Coleman has his lucky necklace, he feels he can push past Farris. 
            “I like to think that this necklace provides a spiritual advantage to me on the field during practice, though we’re not allowed to wear it on the field.  The spirit carries into my games.”
            The issue here is not about which team is better.  Both teams are hovering around .500 and have a chance to qualify for the state tournament. 
            It is not a dispute over who is more popular, who gets better grades (Coleman confesses that this last accomplishment belongs to Farris), or about who will be more successful playing soccer at the college level.
            This is a battle for glory, one for recognition, respect, and dignity.  Whoever wins in the long run will forever be known as a champion, or the “Ultimate Goal Scorer.”
            Whatever happens in the end, Coleman singles out another main advantage he has over her, his dignified new hair cut.
“I know some people liked it when my hair blew in the wind,” brags Coleman.  “I went for the shorter hair cut to look more professional and refined.  Maybe that’s another advantage I have over Alex.  I don’t have the hair to get in the way like Alex does.”
            Farris’ hair may be a distraction.  Coleman’s scar may be an obstacle.  Yet champions have to overcome boundaries, and that is exactly what Farris and Coleman have to do in order to win the “Goal Medal” and be the number one goal scorer at Arlington High.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hype around the Heat

     Though all of the hype surrounding the acquisitions of LeBron James and Chris Bosh is obnoxious, it's completely legitimate.  As a Celtics fan, it pains me that we are not the best team in the Eastern Conference.  That honor belongs to the Miami Heat.
     I'm fully aware that both Dwyane Wade and James are battling injuries and that the Heat have yet to prove themselves as a team yet.  However, I truly believe that the Heat will win 72 games this year, en route to an NBA Championship.  Here's why:
     The best thing about LeBron James is that he's naturally an unselfish basketball player.  James plays with an altruistic style, much like Magic Johnson.  Some people attribute James' pass-first mentality to the fact that he's not confident in his outside shot.  While this is true, he also loves to get his teammates involved.  
     Prior to this year, James was passing to the likes of Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao.  Varejao and Williams are solid players, but Bosh and Wade...well let's just say they're more than solid.  
     Last year James, Wade, and Bosh virtually single-handedly led their respective teams to success.  While Bosh and his not-so-ferocious-Raptors missed reaching the playoffs on the last game of the season, Wade led a previously-average Heat team to the 5th seed in the East.  And James, well he led the Cavs to first place in the East, before he choked in the playoffs (no big surprise there).
     Each of these three superstars has accomplished wonderful heroics on their own.  From last second shots, to scoring titles, to MVP awards.  These players had success by their lonesome.  Now that they're together...well that's just scary.  It's really a terrifying thought.  The merging of these three larger-than-life figures (even "Larger" than the early-2000 legends, The Backstreet Boys) over the summer has been a bigger hit across the country than Jersey Shore (at least I would like to think so). Even Snooki, as dumb as she is, would be a hooligan not to pick the Heat to win it all this year.  And that's why, I'm going with my gut, and going with the Miami Heat.  
     Of course, I want the Celtics to win.  We certainly have a legitimate chance to reach the finals.  Sure, with the acquisitions of The Big Shamroq (my boy- well, man.  I guess Shaquille O'Neal would qualify as a man...), Jermaine O'Neal (Baby J doesn't do too much for me, based on his struggles against the Celtics in previous Playoff series), and other young studs like Luke Harangody (former Fighting Irish stud), we have a chance.  We'll most likely get the two-seed in the East.  But the new-look Heat, with the new "Big Three" and Eddie House, well the they're already burning down the House, so to speak.  Let's just hope the aging Celtics can come and put out the fire, like they have in two of the past three years.
     With all this said, it's almost basketball season.  That's reason enough to be excited. I'm pumped, baby.  You should be too.