Tag Archives: J.D. McKay

FC nearing the end of another dominant year over rivals

By J.D. McKay

On March 1, New Albany beat us for the first time this school year in any sport. Losing to them in the second round of sectionals certainly was not what we were hoping for. But like college basketball analysts sometimes say, sometimes a loss is what a team needs. That loss seemed to point out how good we have it athletically at FC.

We have also dominated our rivals in most if not every sport this year. On Monday our girls’ tennis team won their matches against New Albany. That win meant that we had defeated the Dogs in every sport at least once this season. Unfortunately, I could not find the exact record between schools because several sports like golf, track, cross country, and wrestling are not head-to-head and sometimes neither team wins the meet. It is also incredibly hard to find these stats.

New Albany was not the only rival we dominated this year, although we have had the best record against them. We have also beat Jeffersonville and Providence pretty consistently.

Just this year we have already had won eight sectional championships in 13 sports. This spring, we  will add to that total. There are six spring sports, and winning five of those sectionals is definitely possible, but we could potentially win all six with a little luck and outstanding play.

I expect the boys’ and girls’ track teams to both win sectionals. The main competition in those sports sectionals is New Albany, and both teams have already beaten New Albany once this year. Two boys’ track athletes I expect to excel the rest of this season are senior Cam Sturgeon and senior Jon Gunn. Sturgeon has a real chance to win state and will be all-state. Gunn can fly. He should carry the title of 100 and 200 meter dash champion out of this sectional after winning both last year. I expect freshman Annalise Zeinemann to win pole vault sectionals and could make a real splash in regionals–maybe even state. Plus, junior Sydney Liddle, who was all-state in cross country, has a chance to be all-state in a second sport this year in a long distance event.  

Baseball is the only team I am not expecting to win their sectional. Our team is talented, but we also have a very competitive sectional. New Albany and Jeff are both very good. We have defeated New Albany and lost to Jeff. However, if senior Adam Spalding, who tossed a no-hitter last night, can have another dominant pitching performance over either Jeff or New Albany, and senior Blake Barrett can light it up from the plate like he did against New Albany earlier this year, I could see them winning sectionals.

Softball should win sectionals and potentially go deep into state. Our team has a plethora of future college softball players including seniors Cassie Thomerson (Indiana State) and Dallas Henderson (Indiana University Southeast). As long as our players play up to their potential, the team could advance far past sectionals.

We typically have the best boys’ golf team in the area, and I do not see that changing. Last year, we won sectionals and had three golfers come in the top five. Senior Harrison Eades finished third, graduate Dylan Zink got fourth, and junior Reece Compton got fifth. One of the opponents that finished above Eades and Compton has since graduated, and the winner from Corydon is within reach of Eades or Compton.

Our girls’ tennis team should also win sectionals. They won sectionals last year in straight sets and I do not expect that to change. While we did lose two seniors, Kate Sparrow–a doubles player was the biggest loss–junior Katie Weimer should step up and fill that role.

It is almost the end of the 2018-19 school year and time is running out of time to get to an event if you have not yet. It is a good time to be a Highlander. Do not miss out.

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

 

Flawed officiating must be fixed on the biggest stage

By J.D. McKay

On Saturday night, Virginia and 2016 Indiana Mr. Basketball Kyle Guy beat this year’s Cinderella, Auburn. Guy sank three straight free throws after a foul with 1.5 seconds left. For some weird reason, I was feeling like a particularly passionate Auburn fan, so I was shocked by the outcome.

After I pulled myself together, CBS officiating analyst Gene Steratore said that the officials missed a double dribble on Virginia that would have given Auburn the ball with about 2.5 seconds left, up two. It is worth mentioning that both my dad and I noticed this missed call live. Had the double dribble been called, the Tigers would have inbounded a pass and been fouled, forcing a one-and-one. Now, Auburn may have missed the first, and Virginia may have hit the half-court buzzer beater to go to the National Championship, but they also might not have. Auburn also may have hit both going up four with about 1.5 seconds left, sending them to the National Championship.

So minutes after the Final Four game I wrote down my thoughts, and I realized, this is not the first of the Major Six (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball) championships to have a tainted pair of teams.

The Super Bowl featured the Rams, who probably should not have been in. After the two-minute warning, the Saints had a chance to score a touchdown that probably would have sent them to the Super Bowl. But after a missed pass interference call, the Saints kicked a field goal with enough time left for the Rams to kick a field goal of their own and send the game to OT, eventually winning. Once again, the outcome could have been the same had the Saints missed the field goal, still forcing overtime and eventually a loss, but we will never know because the call was missed.

There are missed calls in every game, so any call could have been missed and the outcome of the game been changed, but these are memorable because they are on the biggest stages at the biggest moments. It does not help the officials, either, that these missed calls can be replayed in super slow-mo.

There is not one easy fix to this problem. Humans will always make errors, but we have developed better technology, so why not use that to fix our errors? As I said above, these games are played in super slow-mo for fans, so why not have a group of officials either at the game or in a neutral place like New York? They could call in any missed call that is objectively wrong, like for instance, a double dribble. However, if that was instituted for the whole game, they might never end. To resolve this, the “New York Official” would only make calls within the last two minutes.

The NCAA could also resolve it the way the NFL did: challenges. However, this slows the game down significantly and would be weird for basketball. They would have to wait until after the play ended then asked the officials to look at the play. They could either have two for the whole game or just one at the end of each half.

Officiating may not be getting worse. It may be the same quality as always; however, with high def replays, we can always see when they are wrong. This technology cannot just be ignored for the improvement of the game. Several years ago, the MLB allowed for coaches’ challenges. This league that seemed like it would forever be stuck in the past came forward and made use of technology. That made some baseball fans mad, but all together was better for the game. Basketball and football have developed some strategies to make use of the technology and improve the game.

However, it seems to me that some small things can be done to get the correct calls, not lengthen the games, and, in the playoffs, give fans and players the champions as they probably should be.

 

Previewing the 2019 MLB season

By J.D. McKay

The longest pro sports season has finally rolled around. It will not be done until November. A season that long is hard to predict, but I will try my best and hopefully get a couple of predictions correct.

National League: This league is a bit of a toss up because of the new talent. All three division winners from last season kept their star players, but some of the weaker teams added stars. For example, the Reds signed Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. The Padres signed Manny Machado. The Phillies signed Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen. However, I see Harper as inconsistent and a little overrated. He has only had two seasons batting above 300 and usually bats closer to 250, very average for a MLB player.

I expect the Braves, Brewers, and Dodgers to all win their divisions for the second straight year. But I think the Reds will end their years of playing like garbage and make the playoffs as a wild card team. The Rockies will be the other wild card team. The Rockies will beat Puig and the Reds before losing to the Dodgers. The Braves will beat the Brewers in a rematch from last season’s playoffs before losing to the Dodgers who will be going to their third straight World Series.

American League: In the AL, I think that it will go about the same as it did last year. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros will be the best teams. The Red Sox will again win the AL east, and the Yankees will play the Angels in the wild card. Then, the Yankees will play the Red Sox and the Astros will play the AL Central champion Indians. This year the Yankees will finally get over the Red Sox but will lose to the Astros in the ALCS. For the second time in three years, the Dodgers will play the Astros in the World Series. However, this time the Dodgers will finally win in a six-game series.

Awards: This year’s AL Cy Young winner will be Trevor Bauer. Bauer is a pitcher who is very underrated. After being a pretty run-of-the-mill pitcher for the first several years of his career, he figured out his mechanics and dropped his ERA two points. He had the third lowest ERA in the majors last year and probably would have been the Cy Young winner had he pitched more innings. The NL Cy Young winner will be Jacob deGrom. Last year, his ERA was 1.70. However, with that low of an ERA, the wins did not come. He only won 10 games, had 9 losses, and 13 no decisions. The AL MVP will be Mike Trout, showing that he deserved the insane 12 year 440 million dollar contract. It honestly would not surprise me if deGrom also won NL MVP, but I will pick another actual position player. I expect Machado to win the award, even though he is on a average team.

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.