Swing for the title, ladies, not the fences

You know something, ’Cats? I really hate history.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to know where you came from, but if I had to choose between having needles put under my nails or writing a 20-page “objective analysis on world civilizations between 1500 and 1815” again, well, let’s just say the paper wouldn’t get written.

That said, history is often the most telling indicator of events to come, and in light of the meteoric rise of this season’s softball team to the top in the nation, I think a history lesson and a word of caution are in order.

I invite you to harken back to a distant time during the heyday of Linfield softball’s golden age. The year was 2007, and the ’Cats were red hot. En route to their first national championship in years, they were absolutely gelling beyond anything that women’s sports had seen in McMinnville. They broke Linfield and NCAA Division-III records; they roundly won the regular-season and conference tournament titles; and at the end of the day, they went home with the hardware.

Fast-forward to 2008, when everything came apart. The team had every reason to make some serious noise in the national scene and challenge for a repeat performance as national champions, but the repeat bid fizzled out during the postseason and the team came loose at the seams.

Everyone was disappointed, no one more so than the players themselves, but it was never
really clear why a team with so many returning members of the ’07 title run couldn’t make it happen the second time around.

Fast-forward again, this time to 2010. Like in 2007, the softball team caught fire and scorched the Northwest Conference, shattered nearly a half-dozen school records and came a few tantalizing innings short of claiming its second national title in four years.

Fast-forward one last time to the present. Like I said already, this team, which had all the core pieces of last season’s squad return, has been ranked No. 1 in the country all season long and is well on track to win a second consecutive conference title, as well as play deep into the postseason and, Lord willing, get that coveted trophy.

If, that is, ’Cats can keep their eyes on the ball instead of on their numbers. When I got the idea for this column, I poked around a bit and started putting together a picture of what happened back in ’08. Whispers from those in the know say that while the Wildcats looked good on paper, locker room issues ultimately sank their success. Specifically, players got drunk on their own talent and started playing to better their personal records and statistics rather than working cohesively toward a repeat bid.

As much as I wish it weren’t so, history is banging on the door this season. There is a frightening parity between the two situations in 2007-08 and 2010-11. On this season’s roster, we have multiple players in the top five in career home runs, RBIs, total bases and total hits. If those individuals don’t stay humble and read the writing on the wall, they might end up reading about another failed run in the NCAA D-III Playoffs in the Review in a few months.

Here is the question that will decide our softball program’s fate: Can this squad of sluggers remain focused on the big picture rather than on the records it is close to breaking on a school and national level? I would like to say yes, but then again, I’m known to don rose-colored glasses when it comes to my sports teams.

Ultimately, I think the drive to win the title after coming so close last year will win out over any personal missions once the stakes get cranked up come playoff time. At the end of the day, it’s up to these young women to write this chapter of Linfield history, for better or for worse.


Chris Forrer/For the Review
Chris Forrer can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

44 Comments on Swing for the title, ladies, not the fences

  1. Wildcat Fan // April 8, 2011 at 10:45 pm //

    You are such a great opinion writer. You know so much about sports. Why hasn’t Sports Illustrated offered you a sports journalist job? I bet you have been to hundreds of softball games, and completely understand all the strategy involved. In case you are too idiotic to notice, I am being sarcastic. Did you even go to school at Linfield during the 07-08 season? Didn’t think so. That means your “locker room issues” comment was based completely on rumors. What great journalist skills you have. Last time I checked, hitting homeruns scores runs and scoring runs wins games. And the win gets attributed to the TEAM. Of course, since the team has outstanding stats, that must mean all the players care about is statistics. Yes, that sounds logical to me. Again, sarcasm. Next time you go running your mouth, maybe you should write about something you are good at, like watching Harry Potter movies, playing chess, or jacking off.

    Sincerely,
    A TRUE Wildcat fan

  2. Emilee Lepp // April 9, 2011 at 7:50 am //

    Wow this is the most ridiculous article ive ever read….way to support your Linfield teams! You obviously have NO idea what you are talking about and i seriously doubt tht you have ever even attended a Linfield softball game. Next time you write a ridiculous article maybe you should focus on something more in your specialty like chess or math team and stay away from sports.

  3. derek newman // April 9, 2011 at 4:15 pm //

    this is the first time i have ever seen a school paper bad mouth one of its own teams. i heard the games today were won with home runs. this is the best team in the nation and you bad mouth them? no wonder that most people in the us don’t trust or like the press. you need to get a life. good luck getting a one on one interview with any one of these great ladies.

  4. Tits Mcgee // April 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm //

    Really? Credible sports writing and insight from a theatre major? I never thought I would live to see the day. Has this guy ever played a sport in his life? This isn’t the pro’s where players play for fatter contracts, or endorsement deals. This a division 3 softball team that happens to be extremely dedicated and talented. Before writing such an article it might be a good idea to do a little research and consider the sources. An interview with current players and coaches might be a good start. Maybe attending a game or two would be a professional journalistic approach something that this author clearly lacks. The moral of the story, before publishing an article do some due diligence and write something remotely intelligent.
    -Sincerely Tits Mcgee

  5. Doug Strahm // April 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm //

    Maybe the opinions that this supremely sharp and informed person has, should be taken for what they are……..ABSOLUTE UNINFORMED POPPY-COCK (or as you might say CRAP!!!!)

    If you want to provide the facts for the basis of your ramblings, maybe you should state your sources, thereby providing your readers with a serious view of your obvious agenda!

    Since you have no basis for these comments, Why would you denigrate a a group of women, who believed, battled and over came many obstacles to become-NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!

    Grow up a little before you provide your obvious biased opinions!

  6. doesn’t seem like comments are being posted. Wonder why not.

  7. Sorry about the delay in comment approval. All comments are approved by the Web master or editor, and it’s not always possible for one of us to check the website everyday. I will be sure to address this more often in the future. Thanks!

  8. Mark Johnson // April 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm //

    Chris: every sports team is close but I don’t know many as close as this team. I know several members of the softball team and most of them do everything together. To even hint that there could be locker room problems is something you’d know by talking to just a couple players.

    A lot of people have questioned where the ’08 team info came from; it may be true, it may not be. But there are dozens of other great teams in the country. Sometimes a good team loses to a little bit better team. Sometimes a good team can’t buy a hit, sometimes they have a costly error. The ’08 team had quite a few freshmen making their first post season appearance. This year they will be making their fourth.

    Also, these records are a byproduct of hard work. Hard work and good stats do not have to take away from the team. Records are made to be broken. You’re almost assuming these records are posted in the locker room so they can knock ‘em down. And you’re essentially bashing these girls for working hard and being THAT good. Maybe they are just THAT good to break flimsy records. Catball knows what’s up.

    Em, keep tearing the ball up, throwing runners out, stealing bases, and scaring the hell out of opponents. If records fall in the mean time, so be it. I hope all the Catballers know the school loves you guys doing what you do reppin this school.

  9. Chris Forrer // April 11, 2011 at 9:34 am //

    First of all, I appreciate Wildcats young and old coming out of the woodwork to share their thoughts, albeit that many of them are just insulting personal attacks that don’t actually have substance.

    Now, this “I shouldn’t be a sports writer” vein of conversation is just ridiculous. Linfield is a school that promotes students following whatever passion they have even if it isn’t in their major. As it’s been pointed out, mine is theatre. Emily, how would YOU feel if somebody came onto your message board and told you you couldn’t play softball because business majors belong in a study group, or that chemists belong in the lab, or whatever major you may be doesn’t belong on the field. Think about what you’re saying. And, for the record, I may not be an all-conference athlete like you, but as anyone who actually knows me can tell you, I’ve been a sports addict since I could walk and I’m more than qualified for this position.

    Second, and most importantly, if you ladies can put aside your hurt pride for a moment you will see that I never insulted anyone or any team at any point in my article, nor did I say that I don’t want this team to keep winning and breaking records all the way to the championship! If you actually read the article, I congratulate (and rightly so!) the accomplishments the teams of the last two years have made, as well as sincerely hope they keep smacking down records and win the title. Most importantly, I NEVER said that this team is having locker room issues! You folks have utterly missed the point. This is a cautionary column that has a very valid message to it; i doesn’t matter if you’re a rich Division-I kid or a D-III slugger, pride and emphasis on personal gain CAN and DOES occur at this level and it WILL derail this or any team’s hope for a title if it infects the locker room.

    Finally, if you don’t like my opinion, that’s fine. But I have my information from a very, very reliable source in the sports world at Linfield who relayed to me that MULTIPLE sources around the ’08 team told this person that many players began to place more emphasis on their own stats and not the team outcome, which was the genesis of this column. Sports writing, as well as any journalism, is a lucrative and sometimes controversial art, and for you folks to attack me for following a valid lead that happens to upset you isn’t right. I hope to hear more mature feedback in the future, and hope that this comment helps you to see that this is NOT an attack on your 2011 team. As my past columns should show you, I very much support this team.

  10. Claire Velaski // April 11, 2011 at 11:09 am //

    Chris,

    As one of five players who is on the current team and was part of the 08 team you said had these issues, I think I can speak for all 5 of us in saying those locker room issues you alluded to were not a problem. As I remember, every player fought hard for the team and put their full effort into finding a way to continue that season because nobody was ready to be done playing. I was not a major role player on this team but I admired every single one of those girls for the hard work and dedication they put into our program. The fight and drive in that team, especially in its final moments was incredible. I think that the responses you are getting are mainly due to the fact that you are insulting people that many of us are still close to and comparing us to a team that you say “came loose at the seams”. While I am honored you are comparing this team to such a great team, I feel you are doing so in the wrong ways.

    The following part of your article is what many of us find so offensive:

    “As much as I wish it weren’t so, history is banging on the door this season. There is a frightening parity between the two situations in 2007-08 and 2010-11. On this season’s roster, we have multiple players in the top five in career home runs, RBIs, total bases and total hits. If those individuals don’t stay humble and read the writing on the wall, they might end up reading about another failed run in the NCAA D-III Playoffs in the Review in a few months.”

    How do you not find this offensive? Our team is having success and is accomplishing many great things and instead of writing about that, you decide to put a negative spin on it saying that individual successes could cause our season to go sour. I can assure you that the only statistic our team is concerned about is our win-loss record. And with how our team has been playing, it is not surprising that records are being broken. Your article places emphasis on the breaking of homerun records. Did you know that 12 of our players have hit homeruns? Do you know how rare this is for a team? Our success truly has been a team effort.

    I feel it is obvious as to why many people are defensive in response to your article, just as it is obvious as to why your response was defensive.

    Claire

  11. derek newman // April 11, 2011 at 11:54 am //

    the first job of any reporter is to “get the names right”. how do you spell miss lepp’s first name? so far you are 0 for two. you really got it going don’t you.

  12. Mark Johnson // April 11, 2011 at 12:18 pm //

    FIrst, I agree, the personal attacks are not so helpful. But if you didn’t intend it to be an indictment on this team, then why bring it up at all??? That’s why everyone is perplexed right now. If a majority (all?) of this team and the 08 team finds it as a negative column, then the problem probably isn’t how they perceive it, but how it was written.

  13. Darren Valenta // April 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm //

    I’m really disappointed in the backlash that this article has seen. It’s one thing to question someone’s sources, or disagree with their opinion, but to personally attack Chris’ lifestyle, intelligence, integrity, etc is disgusting. I can completely understand why Linfield softball might be a little irritated by this article; it suggests that perhaps there was some dissention among the Wildcats during that 2008 season, which is something that no one at Linfield really wants to admit or even think about. Whether that’s true or not, I’m not sure, and I’m not going to speculate. What I do know, is that Chris seems to have a source or two that DOES know what went on inside that locker room, otherwise he wouldn’t have submitted the story and The Review wouldn’t have given it the O.K. What is truly disturbing is the fact that the moment someone decides to suggest that some evil may befall Linfield softball, he is insulted, belittled, and discounted as someone who knows nothing about the game. However, isn’t it important to have a united locker room? And isn’t it vital to put personal gain aside when pursuing the ultimate goal of winning a national championship? Any softball connoisseur will answer these questions with an emphatic “yes”. This is, I believe, what Chris was getting at. He wasn’t saying that Linfield softball is in disarray and that current players are only concerned with their own records; he was simply stating that in order to reach the summit they need to stay clear of the greed and selfishness that has derailed many teams in sports history.

    All that aside, personally attacking Chris because he had a different opinion is absolute ludicrous. The guy bleeds purple and red, and has been a very big supporter of Linfield sports week in and week out, writing numerous articles about how wonderful our sports programs are for The Review. However, whether he is a Linfield fan or not, the guy is still a human being, and deserves the respect that any one of us would expect to be treated with. It’s a little alarming that Chris is bombarded with some pretty angry responses the moment he expresses an opinion that is slightly different than everyone else’s. His article brings up an interesting point and provides a bit of very wise advice. Just because Chris Forrer wanted to take a minute to caution Linfield softball doesn’t mean he’s not a true fan; in fact I respect him a great deal for taking off those “rose colored glass” and critically assessing the situation. A journalist’s job not to simply stroke the egos of the people who he or she covers; it is to bring these uncomfortable thoughts to the forefront so that we can look at all aspects of a situation.

  14. Cats Fan // April 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm //

    Chris,

    Sure, this year’s team is breaking records… but it helps win games. Maybe you should look at the team’s motto: “As One.” The players know their roles on the team. If they are called upon to pinch run, they will gladly do so. Or if a player needs to hit one out of the park to put the team ahead, they will step up to the plate. Whether they succeed or fail, the team is there to support them. Each player has a significant role on the team, and whether it be getting one at-bat the entire season or starting every game, each player’s role is just as important as the next. The team is NOT selfish. If a record is broken during the season, yes, the player will be congratulated, but the team’s ultimate focus is on winning. It always is about winning. I can assure you that every single player on the team works extremely hard with this in mind every time they step on the field.

    Softball is a sport where one pitch can change the game. Winning back to back championships is hard, even with the exact same roster. On any given team, being selfish can break a team down, however it is not the only reason a team can fall short after winning a championship. Sometimes luck is involved; sometimes one pitch, one error, one inch can change the outcome of a game. Accusing this year’s team of being selfish because supposedly there is a correlation between 2007-08 and 2010-11 overlooks one key factor: Last year’s team fell short in the national championship game. Now if that is not motivation enough to work as hard as possible to never have that feeling again, I don’t know what is. Winning is what matters most to this 2011 team. If individual stats come along with this winning, then so be it.

    If your so called “reliable source” of “sources” of the 2008 team is the “genesis of this column,” then next time I advise you to quote these sources. As a journalist, you should know to back up this “whispers” with actual facts. If you have even been near the team room this year, which I’m sure you have not, you would know the team’s emotions before each game. Are the players talking about how they can break the next record? No, before the games, the players cannot wait to dominate the opposition. Every time they step on the field, they focus on whatever it takes to win.

    Lastly, I do not understand your thought process behind this article. Saying that the Cats will fall short this year because they did so in 2008 is so disrespectful to your school. If you are a sports fan, like you claim yourself to be, why on earth would you write that the team “might end up reading about another failed run in the NCAA D-III Playoffs in the Review in a few months.” If you wrote this same article about the football team, half the squad would be knocking on your door waiting to tear you down within 15 minutes because writing an article such as this about your own school is hurtful and embarrassing on your part. You say you support the team, but this article surely indicates otherwise.

    Sincerely,
    A Catball fan

  15. Amy Hammons // April 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm //

    “As one” is something you will never understand….

  16. Be a man // April 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm //

    I’m going to keep this short Chris, I’m sure you’re tired of reading all these comments from Catball fans and parents.

    If you’re going to write a controversial or opinion article you better be able to take the criticism and not get so offended. As much as you are entitled to free speech so are other people. Don’t think you were offensive? It all started with the title of your article, “Swing for the title, ladies, not the fences” You asked for it.

    Sincerely,
    Let’s be real.

  17. Dear All, // April 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm //

    Dear All,
    Knowing Chris as well as I do, I know that this was NOT an article attacking the Linfield Softball team. This was an article supporting them, and wanting them to win, and take home the Title. Just as every Linfield supporter would want them to do. He gathered information through “whispers from those in the know”, and you know what? They are just that,” whispers”…take them for what you want. And since they are whispers, it is very respectable of Chirs NOT to reveal names.
    He, as Darren stated above, Bleeding Linfield’s colors,doesn’t want to see the possibility of what he heard through Whispers to happen. He wants to see the Linfield team Win, and Win big.

    Once being apart of various sport teams myself, I know that it IS possible to get ahead of yourself, and get lost in the numbers and loose the Heart of the Game. I’ve seen it happen. And Never did He accuse ANYONE of doing that; it was just a warning that it COULD happen. And knowing him as well as I do, he WOULDN’T want to see all of the Softball girl’s hearts broken if it did. So when he states “Swing for the title, ladies, not the fences”, he is in NO WAY, saying that these Ladies are NOT putting effort, or giving their all, he is just saying: Hey, be careful, check yourself, and make sure you have your whole heart in it, and not just some of it.
    I know that He puts his whole heart into everything he does, and likes when people keep him in check, and was was most likely just trying to pass on heart felt advice. So please, no more inappropriate comments, he doesn’t deserve that. No one does.

    ps. Being in Theater, is A LOT like being on a sports team, or any team for that matter, and “As One’, is something he understands EVERYDAY of his life. Maybe not in the same way The Softball team does, but without every part of a production: Department, Director,Designers, Actors, Tech, Backstage..etc. coming together, and being “AS ONE”…. that production would never go up.

  18. Chris Forrer // April 11, 2011 at 9:36 pm //

    To all: I welcome your criticism, as every journalist does, and appreciate you taking the time to post on TLR’s website. I will be posting a formal reply (not an apology, a reply) in my column space this week, and look forward to your reactions.

  19. I believe that the comments made personally against Chris are fairly on par with what he has said about this team in terms of being offensive at a personal level. To attack an athlete on their game is personal. Maybe some were a bit crude or over the top.

    All that being said, this article is very opinionated as one would expect from an opinion article. When a person writes an opinion article they should expect to get backlash if it is in anyway controversial as this clearly is from the response it has obtained.

    I saw a few comments saying the author does not suggest the personal “missions” or “goals” will become a problem. That is incorrect. He explicitly says they will be a problem at the end of the article and I quote “Ultimately, I think the drive to win the title after coming so close last year will win out over any personal missions once the stakes get cranked up come playoff time.”

    In his defense comment he says he has one source that told him multiple sources said the ’08 team was having problems. That is called a rumor.

    The biggest problem I have with this article are the rumors being used to justify a team not winning back-to-back titles (an immense task at any level, only 7 D1 Men’s basketball teams have accomplished it in 72 years).

    All in all this is a decently written opinion article. This would not suffice for a non-opinion article as the facts are clearly missing. Too many ties are being made using very few strings and information.

    He is entitled to an opinion as are all the commentators. No one has to agree with any or all of them. Keep commenting and replying, that is how a good sports article and thread work.

  20. Chris,
    While it is apparent that your article was not meant to be offensive, it was. The way you presented it, the wording, the title, all came across as offensive to those involved in the program. If you truly “bleed red and purple” then you would send the team an apology, whether you were intending to be rude or not. It is also insulting that you felt the need to “warn” the team. As if without this article all the players would become engulfed with their own personal stats and flop at regionals (as what happened to the 2008 team according to you and your “reliable source”). A team this great does not need your petty warnings.

    Ps. You cannot compare being in theater to a national championship caliber team in any way, shape, or form.

  21. Are you joking? // April 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm //

    JC, are u serious? U would seriously put telling this author to “stick to jacking off and chess team” on the same level as this article? I’m disgusted u would even imply that, regardless of what i think on the piece anyway

  22. Are you joking? // April 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm //

    Oh, and u completely read that quote wrong. He said the drive to win the title will WIN OUT OVER PERSONAL GOALS, not the other way. Ur quote is opposite of what u thought it meant…maybe u should have read it closer…

  23. Anonymous // April 12, 2011 at 6:04 pm //

    First off, Mr. Wildcat Fan, Sports Illustrated publishes articles nearly identical to this one about top teams. In fact, they’re usually blatantly offensive. You don’t see those journalists writing an “apology” do you? This article however, was meant to be a warning because history does tend to repeat itself.

    Second, Tits Mcgee? Really? Grow up.

    Third, If you’re going to quote the article don’t take it out of context.

    Fourth, the people saying theater is incomparable to sports, that’s where you’re dead wrong. I mean, if you actually have been in a theater class or production, then you would know that, like sports, a theater production requires everyone to work together, or the show would be terrible.

    Lastly, to the people personally attacking Chris, stop. Seriously, does openly ( Haha, Just Kidding, You don’t have the balls to say it to his face.) badmouthing someone solve something at a restaurant? at a store? No. It doesn’t. This isn’t Kindergarden at the playground, it’s real life. Sometimes you won’t agree with something. Grow up.

    That is all.

  24. My opinion and nothing else. // April 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm //

    I can understand why people might find this OPINION piece offensive. But that’s just it. It’s an opinion. There are a lot of things in life that will offend you or upset you but you can’t attack every person who does. It’s their opinion it has nothing to do with yours or your beliefs. Let what the writer said roll off your back. And you might think that it’s personally attacking you, but I know the writer of this piece and I know that he would never do anything like that intentionally. He is a talented writer and we have a very reputable paper. I don’t think our paper would print something they didn’t think have facts backing it. Also, why can’t we be a little more adult about this? Aren’t we all over 16? I think so. We go to a liberal arts COLLEGE. We should be able to respond to things as adults. I appreciate that this writer has enough courage to post his opinion. He shouldn’t have to worry about people attacking his character. He isn’t attacking anyone else’s.

    And one final thing. I know what it’s like to be on a softball team and numerous other sports teams, but I also know what it’s like to be part of the theatre department and if you didn’t pour your heart and your soul into this art… you couldn’t be part of it. Now, I am not saying that this writer could go out on the field and show you all up… but I don’t think you could do what he does every night in rehearsal or what he does every night in a show. Being part of the theatre is being part of a team. If one person fails we all fail. We have to all be one unit. And I feel like that’s the same for being part of a great sports team, which Linfield clearly has. We have outstanding players and teams. I have never seen teams work so hard for what they love. But I think the same can be said for the theatre department. And unless you know what goes into a production, I don’t think you have the right to comment on what it takes. We work just as hard… just in a different way. We should be able to accept all disciplines are Liberal ART students…

    And just because someone is artistic, doesn’t mean they aren’t athletic as well or that they don’t know what they are talking about. I am truly disappointed in the level of maturity that the students/ADULTS are showing in response to this. It’s terrible that people’s feelings got hurt, but it’s just an article in a piece of paper… that’s it. And if you really want to prove the writer wrong… win the title and ignore this opinion piece.

  25. Steven Stewart // April 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm //

    “Ps. You cannot compare being in theater to a national championship caliber team in any way, shape, or form.”

    The audacity of this comment showcases this ridiculous nature of this argument. Alas I must correct this injustice, however. As a member of Linfield’s award winning theatre department, I find your comments to be far more offensive then anything Chris wrote. Let us remember that while softball, basketball, and other such sports are extremely important to Linfield, they are extracurricular. There is a theatre major at Linfield, and with that comment you are debasing an entire group of people whose future careers are in theatre. Few people are going to professionally play a sport beyond Linfield.

    Linfield Theatre also regularly submits its plays and individual studnets to the regional field in the form of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival conference where shows and students have won conference awards and sometimes even proceed to the national level in Washington D.C. which in entirely comparable to your DIII level sport.

    Just because we are hanging lights and performing doesn’t make us lesser caliber to people throwing and catching balls.

    And just for a frame of reference of where my comment comes from and my support for collegiate athletics as well as other alterior activities, my aunt, Robyn Stewart, was the female basketball college at Linfield for several years, and directly, atlehtics was the means by which I came to this school.

    Love or whatnot,
    Steven Stewart

  26. A Beaver not a 'Cat // April 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm //

    So, I am not a ‘Cat, not a softball player and not an actor/actress however I do know team work inside and out. I work in the medical field and our team work saves lives…or not…every single day we step into scrubs.

    All I can say to all of this is: an opinion was stated. It appears that Chris wants these girls, this team to win so much that he felt maybe a look back in history might make them think a little bit. Sure seemed like maybe it worked. Reading the comments by some it appears that he hit a sensitive nerve, eh? If not, then why the mud slinging?

    If you read the article from an unbiased viewpoint, he was not bashing the softball players or team. So why do so many feel the need to bash him?

    So ‘Cats, show the world what you’re made of, let’s see some “As One” and bring home the trophy! Good luck!

  27. student/athlete // April 13, 2011 at 1:17 am //

    Chris,

    like many have said, I don’t think your “opinion” was to come off offensive and you have every right to state it, but you did it very poorly and you need to man up to it. . I agree with above comment that right away you are doubting this team/school that you say you love, in your title. When you call for a history lesson you are basically saying that you know more about the school’s history of softball than the girls playing it do. I feel that any athlete playing their respected sport will know the in’s and out’s of their history of the school’s sports program. Like I am sure you know the history behind the theatre department better people who are not in it. So, you don’t need to be giving a lesson. Part of the game of softball is home runs, RBI’s, hits, all of those stats. The school is very fortunate to gain athletes of their caliber to be able to set and break these records. I think that Linfield athletics prides itself in putting the team first, and I know for a fact that this group of women who are on the softball team always have put the team first and will continue to. I don’t think that it is fair for you to comment on the “behind the scene” stuff because you were not apart of it, even if you have in your opinion a credited source, you still will never have a true insight on their program.
    I have been to multiple softball games home and away and I have not seen you there. You say you have been doing this poking around but did you ever think to go directly to the heart of your opinion which deals with the ’11 team? You did not respect them at all and produced all these claims that they need to be worried about losing, when there are women who were apart of that ’08 team on the current roster. Do you think it would have been a good idea to get their side and then do a compare and contrast after hearing the things that they have witnessed/been apart of? You could have still had your opinion on things and you would have respected the program and players a lot more.
    I feel at the end of your article, although you are saying you want for them to do well, you still doubt them yet again. “I’m known to don rose-colored glasses when it comes to my sports teams.” Afterwards you express your faith, so why even state your optimism? Like some have said I believe that if this were a male athletic team you spoke about you would be getting a lot worse than some verbal attacks. After reading this and being an athlete for one of the athletic teams for the school it is pathetic that you call yourself a fan of the Cats. I can almost guarantee that you have lost the support of many athletes other than ones in softball for offending another team from the school. I completely support the softball team and the comments that they have stated. As for your reply, not an apology, I hope you have thought about it real hard, because an apology is needed if you claim to “bleed” purple and red. If I were you I would be embarrassed to even think about showing my face at a softball game. I suggest that you just hang home if you ever thought about finally showing up to one to report a story that has some credibility.

    One last thing, although sports are extracurricular activities I would love for people who are not involved in them to take a real look at the work load that us student/athletes do. On top of all of our classes and studying we still find time to compete in our respected sports. A lot of teams dedicate well over 30 hours a week to their program. We all know this is DIII so we aren’t getting the free passes in academics like DI schools, we aren’t on scholarship, we don’t get paid to play. We are doing it for the love of the game, the camaraderie of our team, and to win a National Title. I am not doubting that theatre puts in extra work on the side, but you get a letter grade for it. Our grade is when we win.

  28. Mark Johnson // April 13, 2011 at 11:42 am //

    Just an FYI, the softball team hit 6 HRs yesterday, breaking their old NCAA D3 record of 78, they are now at 80 and counting, having played 13 games left. Emilee tied the NCAA D3 record with her 24th bomb. While yesterday’s onslaught may have been aided by some extra motivation, I hope the team can put this very, very ill-timed and ill-conceived column in the rear view, because this shouldn’t deter.

    “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.”
    - Elvis

  29. derek newman // April 13, 2011 at 3:10 pm //

    anonymous, really? not putting your name out there is the “no balls” thing of the whole deal mr. ananymous no balls

  30. Dear Student/Athlete // April 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm //

    Dear student/athlete,
    I would like you to know that Linfield students involved in Theater do not do it for a GRADE. I am currently involved the upcoming production, and would like you to know that I am NOT doing it for a grade. I am doing it because I love it. Yes, theater is a major here at Linfield, but we get involved with OTHER PRODUCTIONS, because we love it. Perhaps, just maybe, this is why THREE theater majors are presently in Arsenic and Old Lace at Gallery Theater, which, mind you, is not involved with Linfield theater.

  31. Chris,

    A word of advice. This is not the first time you have written an article that people have felt personally attacked by, and then denied that your comments may have hit a bit of a personal spot with someone. So when writing your articles for our school’s paper, please proofread what you are writing.

    And now a direct quote from one of our fine softball players (and not a “locker room story” retold to you through 10 people). “This type of article is the kind that you should find in other schools’ papers, like willamettes. Not your own schools paper”. You may be a fan, but they aren’t a fan of yours.

  32. Seriously? // April 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm //

    Weird how this suddenly became a theater vs softball debate. Yeah each does what they LOVEEEEE but the fact of the matter is that has nothing to do with the article. Nothing to do with the fact that many people were offended. The softball team is biased because they disagree with what Chris say? Then tell me how the theater bunch is not biased? As soon as someone pointed out that Chris is a theater major, all the theater majors came to his side to defend him. Is that not what the softball team is doing for each other? Defending each other when they are insulted? What is making me mad is the fact that the initial issue is being thrown to the side for people to to try qualify what they are doing with their lives. You say that none of the softball players are going to become professional athletes, which may be true, but how many of you can I expect to see on broadway??

  33. Anonymous // April 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm //

    Dear derek newman,

    Seriously now?Did you not read my post?Did I in any way badmouth Chris?Next time you try to quote something don’t take it out of context.

    P.S. If you’re going to complain about bad spelling of names, Get my name right. It’s Anonymous not ananymous.

    P.P.S. The shift button was put on the keyboard for a reason. Maybe you should learn how to use it next time you post something.

    **NOTE FROM THE ADMIN**
    While we encourage comments, please try to relate them a bit more to the story at hand and not so much just attacking each other. We don’t want our comments to look like they belong on YouTube, do we? This is my first warning folks. Thank you.
    **END NOTE FROM THE ADMIN**

  34. Alexander Logan // April 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm //

    First let me say that Chris and I go way back so I think I can say I know the guy. Next I am amazed at the number of people who are being so vulgar about an opinion article, that Chris put his name on I might add, that have to hide under the veil of anonymity to take cheap shots (make no mistake many of the comments were cheap shots). Traditionally at a time like this school papers write puff pieces about how wonderful the team is and here is rooting for you rah rah, blah blah. Had he not come across the information he did Chris may very well have written such an article. First off was Chris blunt in his article, yes he was. However it is not a journalist’s job to be subtle. Chris was reporting a cautionary tale. Warning this year’s team not to made the mistakes of past teams or they to would become a cautionary tale for future teams. A journalist does not need to have experience in the area they are writing, they just need to research the story and craft their article. Chris had it on good authority that X, Y, and Z happened in the past to torpedo the title run and he reported on it. It may not have been the most flattering but most cautionary tales are not flattering to the subject of the tale. As far as his sources, please a journalist can not and must not reveal their sources. Journalists have spent months and years in jail rather than give up their sources. I know what is coming next and it will be that Chris is not a journalist. Sorry but the definition of journalist is very broad and he meets the definition. Finally if outstanding individual achievement were the key to a championship title why was it only until after the record holder for home runs retired did the SF Giants win the title? How many football teams have players who individually have broken records and garnered individual awards for outstanding achievement but their teams consistently finish last in their divisions? Individual talent is only a fraction of what it takes to make a championship team. It takes a cohesive unit and individuals who are willing to sacrifice personal glory for the sake of the team. Personally I hope the ladies go all the way, and I can tell from Chris’ article he does too. Was he blunt, yes. Does he have a valid point (which by the could have been written about a great many sports teams who go all the way to the playoffs and choke when the team falls apart in the first round) yes.

  35. Grace Beckett // April 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm //

    The point in the theatre folks defending Chris is that we’re offended that people would consider his opinion invalid because he wouldn’t understand teamwork, which is untrue. What upsets me is that somehow this debate has strayed in this way to separate different “groups” of Wildcats. It’s unfair to separate Chris from this OPINION article because he is a theatre major. He’s a Wildcat. Plain and simple. So am I, and so are all of you, and the POINT is that we need to stand together and support the multiple disciplines Linfield offers instead of setting ourselves apart because of our individual interests or groups of friends. We are all capable of understanding each others’ passions and we are all entitled, as fellow Cats, to express opinions on those. Yes, Chris insulted a few people. What kind of opinion writer DOESN’T occasionally upset people? The only problem I really see here is that people are attacking him because they believe he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or that he isn’t entitled to express that opinion.

  36. A former journalist // April 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm //

    The Review, like every newspaper, exists to report news, not to blindly support our sports teams regardless of anything that might not be positive. You can be offended all you like and think that such a thing “doesn’t belong in a school paper” like one ignorant softball player was quoted as saying in an earlier post, but you all show your equally ignorant viewpoints by thinking the press is a tool to massage your respective teams’ egos. It’s not.

  37. Kayla Hubrich // April 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm //

    Chris,

    I acknowledge that The Linfield Review has given you the privilege to write an opinion column. You have earned it, and you are free to express your thoughts. However, I feel that the debate on this article has deviated from the initial issue, and you are misunderstanding why those involved with the softball program are upset. This article would have been bothersome no matter what your major is, or what your hobbies are.

    My first issue with this article is your claims about the ‘08 team. I was a freshman on that team, along with four other current seniors. None of us were approached by you about the issue. We all feel that selfishness was not the cause of our short lived post season. You stated that the “team came loose at the seams.” I strongly disagree with that statement. We had a successful year, earning our spot at the regional tournament. While win-loss records show how consistent a team may be overall, none of that matters once you make it to regionals. From then on out, it’s who has the better game, who gets the job done. One bad game can terminate the season. If one thing had gone differently in the Texas-Tyler game, we may have beaten them. We may have gone on to win regionals, and win nationals. But we lost. Not due to “locker room issues”, we just didn’t get the job done on the field. I am not asking you to identify your source, I just feel that they gave you faulty information. Your comment that stands out the most to me is “players got drunk on their own talent and started playing to better their personal records and statistics rather than working cohesively toward a repeat bid.” Now this is a personal attack on the ‘08 players (I am NOT trying to justify the comments made towards you, just stating a fact). Linfield softball, as many other athletics, is rich in pride and tradition. Being a great teammate is one of those traditions. Stating that someone is playing for their own stats is stating that they are a bad teammate. If individuals were truly playing for themselves that year, we would not have made it as far as we did. Twenty years from now I am not going to remember who hit how many homeruns, or so and so’s batting average, I am going to remember if they were a good teammate. I can honestly say that I feel that none of the players from that year were selfish, and I know a majority of the girls (those who I have talked too) agree.

    My second issue is the way in which you presented your warning to this year’s team, and the fact that you feel we needed warned to begin with. “As much as I wish it weren’t so, history is banging on the door this season. There is a frightening parity between the two situations in 2007-08 and 2010-11.” You are comparing this year to a team that did not make it as far as they should have. You are alluding to the fact that because players are breaking records, they are at risk of becoming bad teammates. While this may be true in other scenarios, such as higher division sports, it is not applicable to the great group of girls on the 2011 team. Perhaps division one players care solely about their statistics, because it may increase their scholarship, or lead to them being drafted by a professional organization. At division three, having better stats means nothing unless it is contributing to the team’s success. I think it is well known to all players on the team that breaking a record might get your name in some record book hidden in the equipment room in the HHPA, but winning a national championship will be something honored by the college, and a memory to all those involved, forever. Asking if we have the capability of staying focused is questioning our integrity and devotion to the team. It is not even a doubt in my mind that every player wants to win, and wants to accomplish something great, as a team.
    While you did state, “Ultimately, I think the drive to win the title after coming so close last year will win out over any personal missions once the stakes get cranked up come playoff time,” it seemed like an afterthought to the article. It came across as though you threw it in for good measure. While we spend many hours perfecting our softball skills, we also spend a fair amount of time perfecting our teammate skills. We have team meetings, workshops, bonding activities, all to better our skills as teammates so we can be the best team we can be. So, when you question our teammate skills, it is offensive.

    I am sure you were not expecting the responses and reactions that you received due to this opinion article. I think your intensions were good, but it came across as condescending. You got an idea for a column, talked to some source, and wrote an article. It is your opinion and you are free to write what you want, I just wanted to explain why people are upset by the article. It has nothing to do with your major, it is simply that your claims about the 2008 team were false, and your comparison between 2008 and 2011 seemed to be questioning our personality and teammate skills.

    And to A Former Journalist, I am the softball player that Really is quoting. I am not ignorant. I believe you are the ignorant one because you are excepting Chris’s “whispers from those in the know” as fact when in reality they are false. Since I was there, would I not know better than those who were not? This has nothing to do with egos. Yes, journalist should write about what they hear or what they feel, but that doesn’t mean everyone has to like it or agree with it. Stating that the 2008 team lost because they failed to out hit their opponents at regionals is one thing, but blaming the loss on personality flaws is another.

    Kayla Hubrich

  38. Dear Kayla Hubrich,
    The above comment was respectable, but I do not understand, why everyone is so mad at Chris, or/and attacking him at a personal level? Also, I do not completely agree with all of your points. He took the information he found, which he does specify as whispers, and wrote an article. When he states “the team came loose at it seems”, they did just that. Any team that doesn’t make it to the top, must come lose at it seems at some point, whether because of a bad game, or focusing on stats, or anything of the sort. If they never came loose, they would come out number one every time. Even the hardest working teams may come loose at the seems, or may never be able to completely tighten those seems to begin with. Also, he states that the whispers said that “players got drunk on their own talent and started playing to better their personal records and statistics rather than working cohesively toward a repeat bid.” He did not make this opinion himself, he just stated what he had found out, and interpreted it as, that some girls were distracted by their own goals and records, rather than focusing all of their effort on working together as a team. He never states that the softball team/s do not know what it is like to be a team.
    Also, If he would have interviewed you ladies, you ladies would have been completely biased,like it or not, even if there were only small “locker room issues”, and he would have had two contrasting stories in his article. Just as anyone interviewed about something they love, would be biased. You ladies would have told him that there were no locker room issues even if there were. Who wants to tell the Linfield review that even though they were a team and supported each other, there were girls on the team extremely focused on individual goals(Not saying that the issues were or were not present. Though, I bet, some girl or girls just MIGHT have wanted to reach their own goals, even if they still cheered for the team, and I bet, that the whispers, were just saying, that if those girls would have ONLY focused on working together as a team, rather than being distracted, or concerned at all, as to if they would beat a personal record, maybe they would have made it to the top).To me, this article was very interesting, and in no way a personal attack. I mean, for goodness sakes, Chris supports all Linfield teams as much as he can, even if he can’t make it to the games.

    Focusing on your second concern, In my opinion, I feel that you do need to be warned.If I was on your team, I would want to find and know every way i could improve or prevent loss. Also, the situations, excluding the idea of the rumors, are very similar. This year is a year following a previous booming year. Then adding the rumors, if they are true, Chris just doesn’t want to see it happen. He wants you ladies to win. He thinks you ladies are a team, and are humble, he just wants to make sure you ladies, like many individuals, no matter what division, don’t get caught up in your own numbers. If someone advised Chris not to get caught up in say, how many people attend a theatre show he was involved in, and advised him to focus more on the message and entertainment the people who intend the show are receiving, and the character and experiences he is achieving through the group work, I think he would take it as a “thank you, thanks for keeping me in check,” rather than a, “Hey, you’re offending me and my personality and therefor You must be wrong, and I am going to point out every single way you’re wrong, and bad mouth you for it”. He would take it as a thank you, because that is the kind of person he is. So next time anyone you, or anyone wants to comment on the article, be like him, and Just state:
    “Dear Chris,
    I know the ladies on the 08′ team and I don’t think that the whispers you refer to are correct. I Think they, like us, were all about the team, and the teams success. I appreciate your support for the team, and I hope to show you that we will stay humble, and that we will succeed to the top.
    Sincerely,
    XXXX”

    (The above..is how it SHOULD have been handled)

    To everyone,
    ps. With theater, and the theater responses, the individuals making the comments about theater, are saying, like Grace said, that Chris, and others involved in theater do not know what it is like to be on a team. That is why the theater group is so responsive. The comments are not “hey, keep in check kind of comments”, they are comments stating that we do no know what it is like to be on a team.
    ps.ps. Chris’s article never states that softball doesn’t know what its like to be on a team, and never states that the current team, or any team, with 100 percent certainty, has team issues. He only states that he hopes it is not the case, because he would love to see the Softball team win the Title.

    So To All, please stop finding the article offensive, because I do not believe it is, and please stop hating on Chris. This article is only a “hey, keep yourself in check” kind of article, because Chris, and others, would rather see you win than lose. And if you find a warning offensive, and can’t find the positive in it, then, in my opinion, you have yet to find maturity.

  39. Claire Velaski // April 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm //

    Dear …,

    I am a teammate of Kayla’s and I too have posted on here explaining why it is we were frustrated with the article. If you look through what we said, neither of us personally attacked Chris, doubted his concept of team work, or questioned his Linfield pride. The point of both of our replies was to explain why it is that we were all offended and to give insight into why this stirred up such a negative response on our side.

    Your definition of coming loose at the seams is flawed. Coming loose at the seams implies that everything falls apart and that the whole season or rest of the season goes down the drain. Losing a game by one run does not mean that a team came loose at the seams. In the game that ended our season in 08, one of our players hit a ball out of the park less than a foot outside of the foul pole. Had that hit been fair, we would have won the game. Last year when we lost, we did not come loose at the seams. Their winning run scored on a bad hop. Both of those examples are uncontrollable factors of the game. For you to say that every team that doesn’t win a national championship means that they have come loose at the seams is an extremely inaccurate comment. That implies that almost every athletic competitor at our school, in the state, in the country, in the world has “come loose at the seams” multiple times throughout their athletic career.

    And I agree, interviewing one of us would have provided a biased opinion. However I feel that his source is likely biased. I am under the impression that the source was a player who was part of the program and quit prior to finishing their collegiate career or someone outside of the program which is a biased opinion in itself.

    As an opinion writer, I am sure that Chris expects people will disagree with his thoughts sometimes and should expect that when people disagree with him that they will voice their opinion (Again, not trying to justify the personal attacks on Chris made by anyone in any way). For you, …, to say “please stop finding the article offensive, because I do not believe it is” is very close minded. You are telling everybody that we should just conform to your beliefs because you feel yours are the right ones. I would not expect you to be offended because the article wasn’t about you.

    As you can tell, this article stirred up a negative response from our past and current teammates. It has been made obvious that this was not Chris’ intention and I feel most of us understand that now. It is not fair of you to tell us we should not have been offended simply because you don’t think we should have been. For you to call us immature for not agreeing with you is judgmental.

    Chris – I thought that your recent piece in the paper was done very tastefully and well put.

    People not involved in our program are obviously not going to see eye to eye with us. We have accepted Chris’ intentions so please accept how the article made us feel.

  40. Dear Claire,
    To me, Coming loose at the seems implies, in literal terms, stitches that held a solid piece together came undone. Also, seems can be fixed, or loosened. Referring to it as a team metaphor, when a team comes loose at the seems, something isn’t quite Gelling, maybe everyone isn’t quite hitting the way they would like, or catching the way they would like, or maybe the team in general isn’t gelling for that specific moment. Either way the seems need to be tightened. So, even if there is only one small thing, like losing a game by one run, that seem could have been tightened, even if just by one stitch, or other small things. Being involved in sports throughout highschool, I know that sometimes the difference between winning and loosing, comes down to the small things, and if the team just holds that stitch a little tighter, then the stitch never can come loose.
    (We can both have our different meanings of “coming loose at the seems”, but that is just my interpretation of it…)

    Referring to his source, yes, any view is going to be biased, but sometimes, *if it was an outsider (I have no idea if it was or not), maybe an outside view, from a journalist’s eyes, is better. It is almost like a third party opinion, type of deal….

    Also, I am not telling everyone to just conform to my beliefs. Mainly, what I was trying to get across, was the fact that you should not let what Chris says offend you, because the article itself does not take a side.You have all the right in the world to your own beliefs about the information he presented from the whispers, but you should not find the article itself offensive, because as I said before, there was no official side taken. Also, there are quotes from his article that show his support for the team.

    And no, this article was not about me, so I do not know what it is like to be in your shoes, but I can see how you might find the idea of you and your teammates or past teammates being called, in a way, egocentric. I get that. All I am saying is that Chris never took a side, and called you guys that, he only presented what he had found, and took a journalist approach to it. And I only brought up the immaturity, because all that was focused on was the negative, and the idea that you guys don’t need warnings. No one brought up ideas of how Chris supported the team, and no one took into consideration that the idea was in a newspaper opinion article. They just jumped on Chris and said that he was wrong and was offensive. The lack of maturity comes from the inability to distinguish an attack from a representation of information. The mature thing would to have been to respond by saying, as I stated above, something like:
    “Hey Chirs, I know these girls, and they are amazing, I think either the source you got your information from isn’t 100 percent correct, or perhaps the interpretation of it isn’t 100 percent correct.”
    ..or something like how Debbie Harmon wrote, which I found to be very respectable.

    I am sure most if not all of you ladies are very mature and respectable, perhaps what I was trying to say, was that the way this specific scenario was handled and responded to was not held to the highest of mature standards. Though, I do appreciate yours and Kayla’s tactfulness.
    Thank you.

  41. I love this school... // April 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm //

    Ah, good ol’ Linfield High. These comments have provided alot of entertainment. Thanks? Anyway, good luck this weekend to the softball team, and i’m sure you don’t need anyone to say this but don’t let all this crap interfere with you guys being the great team that you are.

  42. Tyson Takeuchi // April 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm //

    Chris,

    I know you must be tired of reading everyones opinions by know based on your own opinion. I’ll keep this short, and please correct me if I am wrong.

    I work at Catty Shack on Friday evenings and the softball team always comes in after their practice. They are all there as one, (which is their team motto). They come in laughing and joking with each other. They are humans too you know? They care about their stats, but they care about their teammates as well. No one is left behind, and they all sit together, eat together and leave together.

    Yes this same scenario that is going on right now with our 2010-2011 happened in 2008 as you did state, but have you ever been to a softball game this season? If you have then you probably did see a homerun hit. I can tell you look at what the team does each time ANY player hits a homerun. They coming running out of the dugout to congratulate that specific hitter. It gives me chills to see how well this team has bonded from day 1. I have been to every at home game possible, I even paid to see them this past weekend. I honestly love my ‘Cats and I bleed red and purple.

    Obviously you are a opinion writer and you have all rights to do as you please. Please do not compare two teams with each other. They are two separarte entities. There may be 5 seniors on the team that overlap, but there are 15-20 other girls that don’t. They are all their own person, don’t clump one entity and compare it to another where there is such diversity in the individual.

    Thank you,

    Tyson.

  43. REALLY ...?? // April 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm //

    Mr. …,
    Although your metaphore for “coming loose at the seAms” is cute (see how I used the correct form of the word??) it is not accurate. Watch Sports Center sometime and perhaps you will understand what the phrase means in sports language.

  44. Not an opinion, a FACT……Linfield is the DIII Champs!!! Woot Woot!!! Way to go ladies, we are so proud of you and all your teamwork to get that championship!

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