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Consider visiting a Louisville City FC game

By J.D. McKay

I have never really been that interested in soccer. I played it when I was little like just most other kids and have watched a little bit of the World Cup but only when the USA is playing. I still cannot say that I really enjoy watching a soccer game. However, Louisville City FC (LouCity) games are very cool and if you have not been to a game, you should.

I cannot say that if you already do not enjoy soccer you will suddenly become a fan, but it would make for an enjoyable group outing. If the game is close, it is fun to watch the fans as Louisville City gets close to scoring. Even I got into watching the game and was just as disappointed as the fans when the game winning goals carried just right of the goal, resulting in a draw.
It is also reasonably priced to watch a game. An evening movie costs about $13, which is about the average price of a LouCity game. Plus, at a Louisville City game, fans can enjoys the beautiful Ohio Valley weather if they pick the right time of year. On June, 8, they are playing a home game, and tickets only cost $10.

This is also the last year that they will be playing at Louisville Slugger Field. Their home stadium makes watching the games an interesting experience. The pitcher’s mound is lower and covered in turf, and turf is laid on the infield. The players sometimes seemed to avoid these patches, but did not seem to have too much of an effect on the game, in my opinion. Since it is their last year at Louisville Slugger, it is neat to see the how the fans make the stadium as seem more like Louisville City’s stadium than the Louisville Bats’ stadium. Soon, they will have a new stadium in  Butchertown, designed by the beloved and since deceased partial owner, Wayne Estopinal.

That brings me to my last point, the fans. LouCity fans are crazy. Most typical fans are pretty into the game for people who are not super fans. However, the super fans are wild. They are out tailgating beside the stadium at 1 p.m., six hours before game time. Fast forward about five and a half hours, and they are preparing for their march into the stadium. Led by a procession of drummers, they march in screaming their chants that are basically impossible to understand unless you have been to way more games than me. During the game, they are just as rowdy.

I have suggested before to go to a LouCity game in my “FIVE THINGS TO WATCH” columns. However, I have not really taken that advice and wish I would have sooner. These games are a very cool part of the exploding life in downtown Louisville and will be for years to come.

Tiger roars back to the top after Masters win

By J.D. McKay

This weekend, Tiger Woods completed the greatest comeback in sports history. It certainly was not pretty. He did some illegal and definitely immoral actions. But for some reason, golf fans, sports fans, and people who had just heard of Woods wanted him to win. He should not be loved by Americans–he cheated on his wife several times and got in a crash while under the influence of legal, but numerous drugs. Even through all this, we love comeback stories, especially in sports, and this is the greatest comeback in sports history.

I have been debating this for the last couple days, what the greatest moment of all time and the last decade have been, and if this is the greatest sports comebacks. The latter is true. While there have been some crazy 3-1 and 3-0 comebacks, they do not even compare to this. Typically those teams started in a good place and finished in a better place. Woods was not like that. He started at rock bottom and the DUI and adultery accusations. But after several years of straightening himself out, he got back to the top off the sport on the sports biggest stage.

We can certainly debate the former. In just this decade, the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. American Pharoah won the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in several generations. Usain Bolt set the record for the 100-meter dash. It took him less time than it takes me to tie my shoes. UCONN won 111 straight womens’ basketball games and Michael Phelps won his 23rd gold medal. I just threw a lot of information at you, so you can try to rank these moments, but my number one is American Pharoah because it is very hard to root against a horse. Followed by Woods winning the Masters Sunday.

Of course, Woods’ win being the greatest sports moment of all time has some stiff competition. It is competing with Joe Dimaggio’s 56 game hit streak, and Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man Alive” speech. In 1969, “Broadway” Joe Namath guaranteed a Super Bowl upset and was proved correct. The United States Amatuer hockey team upset the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics, during the height of the Cold War, and in another Olympic feat, Jesse Owens dominated the 1936 Olympics, spiting the openly racist Adolf Hitler. Another Horse, Secretariat won the Triple Crown and set records at the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes, where he beat the next closest horse by 31 lengths. Sometimes these moments come after great tragedy, like President George Bush’s first pitch at Yankee Stadium on October 30, 2001, where he delivered a strike off the mound to chants of USA from the packed crowd.

Almost all of these moments were over 50 years ago. So we may need some time to decide if this is the greatest sports moment of all time, and calling it the greatest sports moment of all time may be premature. But one thing is for sure, this was huge. Huge for golf. Huge for Woods. Huge for youngsters such as myself, who had only heard rumors, of Woods being good. Huge for redemption. And huge for the American Dream, showing that even when nothing seems to go your way and the odds are stacked against you, you can be successful.

Best Comeback Best Moment 2009-2019 All Time Best Moment
Tiger’s Masters win American Pharoah Triple Crown Miracle on Ice
Cavalier down 3-1 Tiger’s Masters win Jesse Owens spites Hitler
*Bias I know Colts vs Bucs, October 6, 2003 Cubs World series Championship Bush’s first pitch after 9/11

 

If I am missing any on any of these lists, write in on the comments any that I missed and make your own top three. Also, be sure to vote for the best moment of the last decade and all time best moment on Twitter @FCHSBagpiper

 

Previewing March Madness

By J.D. McKay

We are finally into possibly the most exciting and wildest time of the year: March Madness. I will be previewing the tournament and giving you the answers to fill out the first perfect bracket ever

East: The East has the most hyped one-seed in the tournament in Duke. Led by Zion Williamson, who can only be described as a freak athlete, they have been one of the most interesting teams to watch this year. However, when their outside shots are not falling, they are very beatable. With that being said, I do not think we are going to see the first overall seed fall in the first round for the second year in a row. But I would not be surprised if they lost to the four-seed Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16 or the two- seed Michigan State in the Elite 8. In the South bracket I expect Michigan State, who is hot, to go to the Final Four.

West: The West seems to me to be the easiest bracket. The one-seed and two-seed are both good, but Gonzaga and Michigan finished the season with a loss in their conference championships. With that being said, there is not really any other team that separates themselves from the other 14 teams. Murray State has the most hyped non-Power Six player in Ja Morant. FSU is decent but not very consistent. But, I’m picking the Zags to get rolling and play Michigan State in the Final Four.

South: I get a sense of deja vu from this bracket, seeing Virginia, who lost to the 16-seed for the first time last year. I expect they do, too, and will come out prepared to beat the 16-seed Gardner-Webb University and play deep into the tournament. They also have Tennessee in their bracket, who has been solid this whole year. They lost to Kentucky once but have since beat them in their conference tournament. They have a lot of momentum and I expect them to ride that into the Final Four after beating Virginia in the Elite 8.

Midwest: This bracket has three of the most historic college basketball teams, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina. I expect all three of these teams to make it to the Round of 32, but then I expect Kansas to fall to Auburn, who just beat Tennessee in the SEC Conference Championship and LSU earlier in the SEC Tournament. However, I expect North Carolina to beat UK in the Elite 8, in a rematch from the 2017 Elite 8. I distinctly remember that game because I watched in on ESPN in Guatemala with Spanish-speaking commentators. Plus, there was a huge shot made by then sophomore Luke Maye, who now leads the Tar Heels. I again expect UNC to beat UK and play Tennessee in the Final Four.

Potential Cinderella team: I do not expect any repeats of the Loyola Chicago run to the Final Four saw last year, but there are some teams that could bust some brackets this March. First off is Syracuse. The Orange are always good. They have one of the best head coaches in the country: Jim Boeheim. They are an eight-seed and could cause some problems. Another Cinderella team is Murray State. As I said above, they have Ja Morant, who is insanely athletic. He could prove to be problematic for some teams. The one other team I could see being a Cinderella team is St. Mary’s. They are coming off a conference championship against Gonzaga, where they upset the Zags.

Final Four: I picked Michigan State to play the Zags and Tennessee to play North Carolina, both of which are one vs two matchups. Michigan State will probably beat Gonzaga because they are very hot right now and are willing to be scrappy when needed as seen against Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game. North Carolina will beat Tennessee because they are experienced. In the championship game they will beat Michigan State. Two years ago, they were National Champions. Some of those players have gone pro or graduated, but other, like Maye have stuck around. Again, experience will be the factor that helps them bring the title to North Carolina.

While I was listening to this I listened to various versions of “One Shining Moment” on Youtube. It is fun to watch the best moments from the tournament on these videos, but more fun to watch the history and upsets live. Do not miss your chance to watch something you will one day tell your grandkids you saw live.

Four things to do or watch over Spring Break

By J.D. McKay

Typically I write my last or second-to-last column before break about five things to do or watch over the upcoming break. However, besides for March Madness, there just are not very many interesting upcoming events. Hopefully we sports fans will be able to survive the pre-March Madness lull and get into the tournament and then baseball season immediately after.

1- MLB Opening Day

There are a variety of options that sports fan can use to enjoy the March 28, the first day of the MLB season. The Cincinnati Reds are in town and play the Pirates. That will be the Reds’ first chance to show off their new toy, Yasiel Puig, in a meaningful game. It should also be a win because the Reds always win the first game of the season. A cheaper option is just to stay at home and watch the games on TV. Yankees fans such as myself will get to watch the pinstripes play the Orioles on ESPN. The Dodger play following the Yankees game and the Red Sox play following the Dodger game.

2- Sweet 16 and Elite 8 at KFC Yum Center

Usually, when I suggest sports events to go to, I try to suggest cheaper options to make games more affordable for my fellow broke students. For this, however, I do not really have an idea on price of tickets. Currently, the three game package is $250 dollars on Ticketmaster. After watching these games for several years and seeing low attendance because the teams are not playing close to home, I have wanted to go and expected them to be cheap. This year I am planning on going and unless U of L, UK, Duke, Purdue, or IU plays at the KFC Yum Center, I expect tickets will be affordable. Hopefully, a Cinderella team will make their way through the South Regional to add some excitement to the games.

3- Watch March Madness

If I really have to tell you this, you should start paying more attention to sports. It is the time of year when average basketball fans like myself pay lots of attention to games that I would not normally care about at all. It creates fans for the lower-seeded teams. Often, this fandom only lasts until the end of the game, but some Cinderella stories keep those fans deep into the tournament. Ultimately, the three-week period probably has the highest concentration of buzzer beaters and upsets of any time during the basketball season.

4- Fill out a bracket

The next part of this is potentially more fun, filling out a bracket. This might not sound fun to non-sports fans but will actually be worth your time. If you are an expert college basketball watcher, feel free to make educated guesses each game and have a terrible bracket. But if you are an ill-educated basketball fan, you can make some predictions based on other things. These uneducated brackets are often some of the best brackets. For example, one classic bracket idea is, if these teams mascots were to fight, who would win? Or, you could just pick the winning teams based on best mascot or best color scheme. Any bracket strategy is only crazy if it does not work.

Columnist explains love for hockey

By J.D. McKay

There is nothing interesting going on in FC sports right now. Boys’ basketball suffered a disappointing loss to New Albany in sectionals. That was the last winter sport still in season. Track is about three weeks into practices but have only had indoor meets, and softball and baseball are still in preseason. Things are not more interesting at the national scale.

The MLB is in spring training, and Bryce Harper finally signed with the Phillies last week, so I guess there was some interesting national sports news. The main winter sport, basketball, is also boring. The Warriors are going to be the one seed and probably win the finals again. However, the Lebron-led Lakers probably will not make the playoffs. That will be the first time Lebron has not made the playoffs in over 10 years. That will make the NBA playoffs lose viewership because the NBA is a league run by one player, Lebron James. Plus, there is nothing so wrong with sports right now that I need to suggest how to fix it.

However, the NHL season is in full swing and is almost ignored by sports fans. So, with nothing going on in sports, I figured I would give the NHL and minor league hockey leagues some attention.

First off, if you have never been to a hockey game, you need to get to one. Hockey is an amazing sport to watch in a stadium. There are four NHL teams about the same distance away from Galena, Indiana (Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and St. Louis Blues), but those are all about four hours away. However, we have minor league teams within two hours of here (Evansville Thunderbolts, Indy Fuel, and Cincinnati Cyclones).

Another great hockey feature is change in champions. The NBA, NFL, and MLB all have several top teams that have been competing in the championship of their respective leagues, Patriots, Dodgers, and Warriors specifically. The NHL is not like that. Last year, an expansion team lost in the Stanley Cup Finals. To show even more that teams do not repeat very often, over the past three conference and Stanley Cup finals, only two teams have been in the conference championship twice. That is two out of ten teams. Another stat that shows the fluctuating levels of teams is that there were no repeat 1 seeds over those three years. The NFL had the Patriots repeat as the one seed twice and the NBA had the Warriors repeat as the one seed.

The last dope part about hockey is the violence. People’s number one complaint about hockey is that it does not have many goals and is similar to soccer. That is a ludicrous accusation. Hockey has violence that is sometimes similar to football but often very different. The player often skate across the ice and smash an opponent into the boards. The fact that ice is under the players instead of grass or concrete makes for some interesting looking and acrobatic collisions. Plus, fighting does not result in a suspension, fine or ejection. While it does result in a five-minute trip to the penalty box, both players have to go so the game stays even. Plus, these guys are often actually angry at each other so they have a reason to want to fight and to want to win the fight.

Now you know why I love hockey. It is the best winter pro sport. Unfortunately, Louisville does not have a hockey team. However, that should not stop you from going to a game somewhere. So before you judge hockey again, go to a game to see what exactly you are judging.