Category Archives: Sports

Coaching ethics epidemic

 Ty Elliot

Sports Co-Editor

As a sports fan, there is nothing better than watching your favorite team beat up on the opposing team, especially if that opponent is a heated rival.  I love watching the team I root for win by a lop-sided 30-point dominating performance.  But with recent complaints and bad coaching ethics shown lately across numerous sports, it begs the question; when is enough, enough?
For most coaches, the thing they least worry about is when they should take out their star players if they were winning by a large margin.  But maybe coaches should worry more about this growing epidemic in sports.  In the old days, old fashion beat-downs were taken with a grain of salt, and were looked at as the better team won.  But today in sports, teams take it a sign of disrespect when teams run up the score when winning by a large margin.  Fans that pay the money to watch these events certainly want to see the best players play until the end.  With the economy affecting sports in numerous ways, should coaching ethics really be a main concern?
I have also seen some recent behavior by coaches that has me concerned.  In Connecticut, during a high school football game, Manchester High School had wristbands that contained the name and signal of offensive plays.  After a play, one player came up out of a pile and signaled to the sideline that he had lost his wristband.  It turns out that Southington High School, the opposing team, took the wristband and used it throughout the rest of the game to steal the other team’s plays.  Why play the game if you know what the opposing team is going to do?
In Texas, Covenent High School played Dallas Academy in a varsity girls basketball game.  Dallas Academy has eight varsity players and about 20 girls in the high school.   Dallas Academy is winless in its past four seasons.  Covenant had a 59-0 lead at halftime.  Covenant went on to defeat Dallas 100-0.  Dallas Academy felft as though Covenant was running up the score and was still shooting three point shots late in the fourth quarter. Covenant’s head coach was later fired.
So when is enough, enough?  Personally I want to see my team give the opposing team a beat-down.  Therefore I have no problem with teams leaving their best players in until the game is over.  There is no rule that says you have to take your star players out when you’re dominating the opponent.  And if one of those star players in the end gets injured as a result of continuing to play, then the coach made a critical mistake that could cost his or her team.  That is the risk coaches take and why coaches should take this problem more seriously because despite the fact that they want to play until the game is over, it can cost your team in the long run with a devastating injury in garbage time.  The only exception is the Covenant and Dallas Academy game.  If your team is winning that much, and your team hasn’t given the opponent a single point, then the coaches should take the responsibility to do the right thing and end the game.  It may look like a joke in the end, but coaches have to worry about the well being of their own players.  They are already embarrassed by the margin; you don’t want them to lose confidence.
Then the subject falls to cheating.  The stealing of the opponents’ playbook or anything that contains their plays is unacceptable.  Not only is it absurd, but it makes your team looks like a group of cheaters.  If your team has to cheat to win, then the coach obviously thinks his team isn’t good enough to win a clean and fair game.
With Lindsay Lohan in and out of rehab, why not have a coaching ethics seminar and rehab center?  At the seminar, coaches instead of learning how to quit their addiction to drugs and alcohol, they can learn how to show sportsmanship.

Hardcourt tip-off

Ty Elliot,

Co-sports editor

With football season now over, players start to take the basketball court as the new season is underway.  As the basketballs bounce high so do the upcoming hopes and goals for the Highlanders this season.  With the success of last year, this year’s team looks to build on and try to continue the winning tradition.

            Last year the Highlanders finished with a record of 15-8.  Losing key players like Cody Banet, Brandon Codey, and Jeffery Thompson detracts from the overall experience of the team, this year’s team appears to be just as experienced with six seniors and six juniors on this year’s squad.  Filling the void left behind by those seniors will not be easy, but returning a core group of players will help ease the role. 

The Highlanders will have an easier task because they have now gone through one more year of head coach Randy Gianfagna’s system. Based upon last year’s results, it seems to be working.  Gianfagna has had great success as a head coach with a 161-134 overall record.  His 33-53 record as head coach of the Highlanders though does not accurately represent his overall success.   Despite the record as Highlanders coach, Gianfagna’s Highlanders had a lot of success last season.  His players have continued to grow and gain valuable experience playing in his system. 

            “We played in tournaments at Purdue, Salem, and in Louisville.  We have really worked on our skill work and our weight training,” said Gianfagna.

This year’s squad appears to have a significant athleticism and overall depth advantage compared to other teams in the past.  Juniors Jordan Thompson and Nick Bombersbach are two athletically gifted players on the team.  Adding multi-talented players like senior Jeremy Jefferies and junior Tanner Wortham will add more depth to the bench. 

“Our overall depth is good.  I think 1-19 Junior Varsity through Varsity is the deepest we have ever been.  With our depth, it makes our practices more competitive,” said Gianfagna.

            Last year the Highlanders made strides in big games, but when they played tough competition they struggled.  When the Highlanders played their heated rival the New Albany Bulldogs last season at FC, the Bulldogs brought their A game.  The Bulldogs and their dynamic duo with Donnie Hale and Chris Whitehead defeated the Highlanders.  This season New Albany and Jeffersonville seem to be two of the better teams the Highlanders will play this year. 

            “We have to cut down on the turnovers.  We also need to rebound the basketball better,” said Gianfagna.

            The Highlanders will have to plug in a lot of new players into key roles.  The team has to replace 67% of their scoring, rebounding, and assists from this past season.  The team lost their top three leading scorers, top four assists leaders, and their leading rebounder from last year’s squad.  Gianfagna said he believes that two players in particular will ease into those roles.

            “I think Barret will step up a lot.  He’s a three year part time starter and we hope he will average a double-double.  Connor will help in scoring, and a lot of other guys will surprise people,” said Gianfagna.

            Gianfagna said that junior Connor Schellenberg will help this team with his scoring ability.    Schellenberg indeed has a great ability to score, and he said he has worked a lot in the off-season on his game.

            “I have done a lot of personal workouts with my AAU coach, and I shoot for a couple hours almost everyday,” said Schellenberg.

            The team has its eyes set for a sectional championship.  Because they will have to play a lot of great teams, their goals are set high.  Junior Jordan Thompson said he and his teammates have high hopes and expectations for this season.

            “We want to win sectionals, beat our rivals, and become better basketball players,” said Thompson.

Debating college football’s post season bowl games

By Ty Elliot

Co sports editor

“Playoffs?!”

The month of December is arguably the best month of the year. There is Christmas break, Christmas day, and college football bowl games. Yes, there is nothing better then watching bowl games. Well, except for the NFL playoffs, and the NBA playoffs and the college basketball tournament. There are better sports’ post seasons better than the college football bowl system. But, if the NCAA were to adopt a college football playoff it would be much more intriguing.

College football’s post season is much different than other sports. In 2010, 35 bowl games will be played represented by 70 teams, the most important game being the Bowl Championship Series National Championship. The championship game features the number one and number two ranked teams in the nation. Despite the simplicity of the BCS system, every season seems to bring drama as to which two teams deserve to play in the title game where there are usually more than two teams that are worthy of those two positions. There is also criticism of how the teams are chosen due to the “BCS formula.” All of the six BCS conferences (Big East, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, PAC 10, and the Big 12) are allowed to have one team represent them in the BCS bowl games, which is awarded to the conference champions. The formula is made of three components, 1/3 is the Harris Poll which is compiled by Harris Interactive, which is a market research company in which specializes in internet research; 1/3 is the Coaches Poll which is voted on by the coaches; and the other 1/3 is the computer rankings. The computer rankings have brought the most criticism. Allowing computers to choose a team to play in a game is ridiculous. A computer for one can not physically watch or see a team play football. A computer has no knowledge of football.

This formula has brought many unfair situations to teams that are not in those BCS conferences. In past years, teams like Utah, Boise State, and TCU have been given harsh criticism from the BCS formula. All of those teams are not in the “BCS qualifyingconferences.” They are looked down upon because they do not play a tougher schedule of games as those in the BCS conferences. But, in fact, in recent years those teams have proven they can hold their own while playing tough teams.

In 2004, an undefeated (11-0) Utah team played Pittsburgh (8-3) in the Fiesta Bowl. Utah was lead by the eventual number one pick in the NFL draft in 2005: Alex Smith. Utah showed to be the better team as they won in dominating fashion 35-7. Utah also played in the Sugar Bowl in 2008 against Alabama. Utah defeated Alabama 31-17 which opened the door for question. Should Utah have played in the title game?

In 2006, undefeated Boise State (12-0) played Oklahoma (11-2) in the Fiesta Bowl. In one of the most exciting games of all time, Boise State won in overtime 43-42, but earned little respect from the rest of the nation.

 What is a better solution for the NCAA? The NCAA should adopt a 16 team single elimination playoff. There are a total of 11 college football conferences. All 11 conference champions should receive an automatic berth into the playoff. Then, the top five ranked teams who did not win their conference will receive a wild card berth. The NCAA can seed the teams based on their BCS rankings with the number one team playing the number sixteen team. With this playoff system, the teams that are in small conferences can have a chance at winning the prestigious national title. Teams like Boise State and Utah will get that chance that they have never gotten in the past, which is to win the title.

 Come on NCAA, change this system to a playoff before the guys on capitol hill do. Do you really want Barack Obama to determine the fate of the college football post season?

Highlander season ends 45-44 in overtime in sectional championship game

FEATURED ATHLETE: Hannah Keehn

Eric Ordonez

Staff reporter

 

Senior Hannah Keehn, varsity cross country runner, and exceptional student in the classroom, sat down with the Bagpiper to discuss her personal success and devotion to running.

Bagpiper: How has this season gone for you thus far?

HK: “So far, I am the number two runner on the team. My races haven’t been as good as they have been in the past. Alyssa Moore is a sophomore and is currently the number one runner. She’s amazing.”

Bagpiper: How long have you been interested in running?

HK: “I started in fourth grade because both my mom and dad ran in high school. My mom even held records, but it was a small school so I don’t know if that counts. I also ran in AAU and I liked my coach Clyde Miller. He inspired me to keep running.”

Bagpiper: What is the best thing about running?

HK: “The people, definitely. I keep doing it for my friends, they just keep me going and going. It is a combination of the atmosphere, the friends, and the feeling of the runner’s high that you get.”

Bagpiper: How do you get prepared for a meet?

HK: “For races, a lot of times I listen to songs to pump me up. Every meet I listen to Angels and Airways’ song “Secret Crowds.” I always use prayer to prepare myself too. I just try to block everything out on the bus by listening to music. Then, as a team we do a one mile warm up and strides, which is when you stretch out your leg as far as you can while running. And before the meet actually starts we circle up, do a slow clap, and scream ‘FCCC!'”

Bagpiper: In one sentence, can you explain what running means to you?

HK: “Wow. Okay, without running, I wouldn’t be who I am. It has shaped so many of my friends and my strength. Physically and mentally. It’s not my life. Just half of it.”