Going Beyond Fantasy Sports and Stats

For or a long while now I have ranted against fantasy sports, mostly because it consumes a person’s life, requiring countless hours of your day to research, assuming that you want to do decently and win some money. But more than anything it makes sports into a mere numbers-crunching excise.

While I don’t  judge if you play a fantasy sport, I think it’s important for people to understand that sports can often be a lot richer when you go beyond the numbers.

Sports Fans all over the Globe are involved in some kind of fantasy sport,/Picture courtesy of www.pixabay.com
Many sports fans all over the Globe get involved in a fantasy sports leagues ,/Picture courtesy of http://www.pixabay.com

 —Jame Wilson—

Instead of simply enjoying the game, we start to abjectly the players, thinking things like “How many yards did Matt Ryan  get for this week? I really need some fantasy points for my fantasy team.” Really people. whatever happened to seeing athletes as human beings?

Not everyone has forgotten the human element of professional sports or sports in general. A while back, I scanned a Sunday edition of a New York Times and saw an article about how Los Angeles Dodgers Pitcher Clayton Kershaw went on a mission trip to Africa in January 2011. Stories like this interest me because they display the personal side of athletes.

Don’t get me wrong, I use to love the raw sports statics. When I was in middle school I spent many a Saturday on baseball performance.com reviewing old players’ stats inside and out. This was not a great idea for my social development at the time, but I managed to compensate  for it later on.

Once I even joined a fantasy baseball league, although I never  kept up with it.  In order for me to win the league (weather for a cash reward or something else), I would have I would have needed to sit in front of the computer screen on a daily basis, tracking the likelihood that a given hitter or pitcher was going to get on a hot streak. Even as a middle school student that just seemed like too much time.

But fantasy sports leagues are not completely bad. One benefit I see is the camaraderie they inspirer in groups of people. Families and friends gather around the television on Sunday, eagerly anticipating how the players and teams on their fantasy squads will do. It becomes a fun and intense personal competition. But whatever happened to the days of cheering for athletes for more than just their raw stoical performance?

I once wrote a feature on a high school classmate of mine that failed an art class during our sophomore year and could not play soccer that spring. Devastated  this  soccer player became  the laughingstock of the school. It is pretty puzzling how someone could fail an art class, but it happened. However, he and his teammates won a state championship the year after that (once his grades improvised), and he earned a Division I soccer scholarship.

The last time I checked the athletic site for his college’s soccer team, he was a stoical ghost because he hadn’t played much and hadn’t scored many goals and such. Still, I find his story interesting because it’s a testament to the hard work that goes far beyond simple sports statistics.

While I don’t  judge if you play a fantasy sport, I think it’s important for people to understand that sports can often be a lot richer when you go beyond the numbers.


Dad and Football

Blog Administrator’s Note:  Karen Karley wrote the post below.

I’m going to start this piece with a disclaimer. I am not a journalist nor is she  good at all the English rules but she has  a story to tell so here goes:

My father passed away 04/27/2014 and this really got me thinking Guest-bloggingabout so many things in life. The funny thing is I really don’t remember much about my childhood and what I do remember really isn’t great. This is why I wanted to write this piece.

When I think of my dad I could be angry about what he didn’t do right or how he was never really there but I choose to think about the positive thing he taught me, “Karen, you are a Georgia Bull Dog fan.” When I ask myself why that stuck with me or why I will fight you if you say something negative about my team I really guess that is my way of letting my dad know I loved him no matter what.

Truthfully, I don’t really remember much about him watching football just saying be a fan. I don’t watch football either but Georgia is still my tsaying that so well. Kind of funny in a strange way. I also went through a phase of being a Braves fan while trying to please my dad but quickly realized they can’t keep any good players. So I gave it up and has no need for loyalty  to them.

This points out,  that  we  have influences  in our  life by many things. For me, I will always remember my dad and football.


Oregon’s Flashy Style Uniforms Coolest in College Football

 As an athlete when you look good, you feel good and that translates to playing better in the game. That is a statement echoed all across the sports world by athletes and coaches. This holds true to the University of Oregon Ducks of the Pacific-12 Conference. The Ducks have had one of the most electrifying , eye-popping colors and designed uniforms this decade  in college football.

The UO football team has been known in recent years for its unique uniform style, consisting of multiple color combinations of helmets, uniforms (both shirts and pants), socks, and shoes, resulting in a new uniform setup every week (not counting in-season changes to uniform designs). The frequent changes have led to criticism by alumni and football purists, though the changes have been often well-liked and praised by football recruits. Oregon alumnus Tinker Hatfield, an executive at Nike, has coordinated the new uniform schemes since Nike has had the outfitting rights for the Ducks since 1995.

The Oregon uniform underwent a radical change for the 1999 season, where new, Nike-designed gear featuring a redesigned “O” emblem with solid green helmets and jerseys with lightning yellow letters revealed a new look.. This began a period of unusually non-uniform standards for a typical college football team. Since 1999, Oregon has completely revised its uniform appearance roughly every three seasons. The frequent uniform changes and their typically flashy uniform have provoked some controversy. Fans of a more traditional approach to college football tend to ridicule each time new uniform is unveil, while younger fans and players—in particular, potential Oregon athletes—react more favorably to the flashy uniforms.

The football team used nine different football combinations in the 2005 season, but introduced even more combinations in the 2006 season. The new uniforms in 2006 provided 384 possible different combinations of jerseys, pants, helmets, socks, and shoes. A metallic-yellow colored helmet with silver flames, which debuted in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl, increased the possible combinations. These uniforms were more technologically advanced than other uniforms, 28% lighter when dry, 34% lighter when wet, and greater durability with reinforcing diamond plating patterns at the joints. The Ducks wore the previously announced white helmets for the first time on October 20, 2007 in Seattle, when they played the Washington Huskies. In 2008, during the Arizona-Oregon game, they wore new, all black uniforms nicknamed “lights out”, but instead of the typical metal diamond plated shoulder pads, the new uniforms had a wing pattern of the livery.

Only once has the original “block UO” helmet emblem made a comeback, when worn   along with a throwback jersey, against Cal in 2009. However, the neo-throwback green jersey with gold letters and the modern logo instead of the “UO” on the yellow helmet,  in the 2009 Civil War.

For the Arizona game in 2008, Oregon unveiled a new uniform design based on the “lights out” design from the previous season featuring the “wings” pattern on the shoulder pads as well as a more simplified uniform design, while retaining the number font style of “Bellotti Bold” and the colors of green, black, white, yellow, grey, gold, and steel. This was the primary uniform design from 2009 through the 2011 regular season.

There was another uniform revision in 2012 at the  Rose Bowl and carried forward into the 2012 season, with the “wings” moving from the shoulder pads to the helmets as chrome decals, and a broader “feather” detail with iridescent fabric highlights. Five different helmets combinations were part of  the uniform kit.

On October 19, 2013, Oregon wore special Breast Cancer Awareness uniforms in a game against Washington State. In addition to new bold pink helmets, the Ducks wore pink Nike Vapor Talon Elite cleats, pink Nike Vapor Carbon Elite socks and pink Vapor Je gloves  coordinated with their black Nike Pro Combat uniform system. The special edition uniforms  designed to raise awareness and funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as the helmets became auctioned items.

The morning of the  Ducks 2013  Bowl game Nike introduced another new uniform for Oregon,  As visitors in the Alamo Bowl, Oregon wore the white uniforms.

It’s all about speed. For the last decade Nike has continually evolved college football uniforms for the country’s best teams. Among these, the Oregon Ducks football uniforms are on the cutting edge of innovation, with the clear goal of optimizing athletic performance and speed on the field. On December 30, 2013Oregon took  the field wearing the latest Nike Pro Combat “Mach Speed” uniform, the most innovative Nike Pro Combat system of dress to date.

The uniform features an all-new chassis including the latest in lightweight fabric innovation built for maximum speed, ventilation and comfort. Drawing inspiration from some of the fastest athletes in the world, Nike has applied research and design across multiple sports to create one of the fastest uniforms on the field. Taking insights from Nike’s Swift Suit technology, the new Nike Mach Speed Football uniform fabric construction features an articulated fit to match the athlete’s motion of play. Ultimately this allows the athletes to move with the uniform fabrics, and not against them. At the waist, an updated griper draw cord locks the pant in place.

“We meet with the team to gain insights into what they need on the field,” said Todd Van Horne, Nike Football VP and Creative Director. “They’ve told us that uniform fit, range of motion, and airflow make a drastic difference on the field, and we are excited to give them a uniform that solves those problems and helps them do on the field.”

The new 2014 uniform design updates the traditional Duck wing pattern to cover the entire shoulder and arm panels. This bold, directional split-wing pattern update spreads out from the center of the chest and helps to give increased abrasion protection across the shoulders. The pant design showcases strong graphic embellishments, reading “Oregon” on the right leg and “Ducks” on the left. Oregon’s latest helmet design features a split wing pattern that mimics the shoulder design.

Steel silver wings that transition to lightning yellow at the armhole highlight the black uniform. Both the base layer top and socks match this lightening yellow color and the uniform’s black helmet features a steel silver wing mimicking the shoulder. Fighting Duck Green takes center stage atop the white uniform, coloring the shoulder wings and highlighting the base layer. A carbon fiber helmet embellished with lightning yellow wings finishes the white uniform look.

Continuing the Duck’s uniform evolution through the lens of speed, the 2014 Nike Mach Speed Oregon Uniform chassis and updated designs   integrates into the team’s existing wardrobe for the upcoming season.