Daily Archives: April 9, 2012

Dirty tricks plague professional league

Football is a contact sport. It’s violent, it’s rough. At times it’s downright brutal. Those crushing hits and big-time sacks are a major reason why football is America’s most-watched sport and why the game has continued to grow in popularity season after season. But there are rules and lines that should never be crossed, even in a sport as physical as football. Recently, one story has made me question how solid those lines really are.

Last month, the NFL’s New Orleans Saints found themselves in a whirlwind of trouble when it came to light that head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had been offering cash bounties to their defensive players to put big hits on certain players from an opposing team during the course of the past three seasons. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis were also implicated and all four men received suspensions ranging from six games to a full year.

Then the rabbit hole got deeper. After being warned by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to cease their bounty program as it was under investigation again by NFL, Payton supposedly instructed Williams to avoid any “inappropriate conduct.” Williams apparently didn’t care. Last Thursday, an audio recording of a pre-game speech before the Saints’ playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers was released. The defensive coordinator calls for his players to lay hits to the head of a concussion-prone receiver, to target another player’s outside ACL and that he wanted running back Frank Gore’s head “sideways.”

I struggle to categorize how much of this is inappropriate rhetoric and how much is just a reality of the game. Calling for players to lay hits on an opposing player’s head, especially one who is concussion-prone, is the most cut-and-dry: the NFL has made it abundantly clear that hits to the head are illegal and subject to penalty by fine.

But what about targeting a part of a player’s body that’s been prone to injury? If you’re a defenseman heading in for a tackle against a player with a reconstructed shoulder, you’re probably thinking that a big hit on that shoulder could take that player out of the game. Is that wrong? You’re making a legitimate tackle in a legitimate way, and if you remove one key player from the opposing team you’ve just given your teammates an advantage.

As far as I know there’s nothing in the rule book that prevents targeting injured parts of the body. In fact, I’m willing to bet that whether it’s openly discussed in the locker room or not most teams have an understanding that it’s just part of the game. Whether you think it’s ethically acceptable or not, players are always going to do whatever they can legally get away with to gain a competitive advantage. That’s just the reality of sports.

If the NFL uses this development to create new legislation that bans any kind of targeting then it’ll be time to change our collective thinking. But until then, it’s just d-fense.

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Chris Forrer/
Sports columnist
Chris Forrer can be  reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Linfield alumnus shoots for German team

Stephen Dennis, class of 2011, has done more within the first year of his post-undergrad life than most. Rather than applying for graduate school or seeking a job, after graduating Linfield with a major in creative writing, Dennis opted for the ambitious and seldom-trodden road of pursuing a professional basketball career in Germany.

“I wanted to see some of the world; it seemed that basketball and academia were two viable options for doing just that,” Dennis said. “While I’m pretty confident at this point that I’ll be going back to school to prepare for a career in teaching, I think at the college level, I recognize that there is a limited window for me to pursue basketball.”

Dennis has played the small forward position for the UBC Tigers, a team hailing from the northern German city of Hannover and a part of the Bundesliga ProB League’s Northern Division. His present status on the team is somewhat up in the air.

“I found out right before I headed over that my paperwork, like my passport and all that, didn’t go through before the league’s trade deadline, which operates much like the deadline we have for our pro sports,” he said.

While there have been difficulties thus far, the Tigers have tried to sign him and there remains much possibility for the next season.

This said, the UBC Tigers are doing well, having finished first in the regular season, which is exclusively teams from the Northern Division, they are now moving on to the playoffs and facing off against teams from the Southern Division as well.

“We won our first playoff series against a team from the Southern Division. If we win our current series we will be in the semifinals for all of Germany.”

While the rules of basketball are universal worldwide, Dennis made it clear that in many aspects the atmosphere surrounding the sport in Germany gives it a different vibe.

”A lot of the fan participation seems to be inspired by soccer culture. They show up drunk, wearing team scarves, bang on drums, whistle incessantly and sing songs that make fun of the other team.”

The fan participation is not the only notable difference. While basketball courts in the U.S. are traditionally made of wood, many courts in Germany are not constructed solely with basketball in mind, but are rather multipurpose courts used for other sports, such as Germany’s handball.

With this being the case, basketball courts in Germany are often made out of a rubber composite, which can be quite a change for a player from the U.S.

“You get used to it quickly, but it’s a bit of a shock the first few times,” he said.

While Dennis’ future holds much potential, his eyes are not only set on a career in sports.

“For the next few years, I plan on pursuing professional basketball as a career before settling down in a city and working toward either my MFA in poetry or my Ph.D. in literature. However, before I commit to a three to five year program, I’d like to visit some countries and see how people are doing life in other parts of the world. Basketball has been a wonderful vehicle for doing just that, and I intend to continue in that vein for the next few years.”

At this point, Dennis is occupying himself with preparation for next season.

“I’m going to continue training back in McMinnville while waiting to hear from teams,” he said. “We’ll see what Hannover has to say in the matter. I loved my time there and would seriously consider returning there for the next season if they offered me a contract.”

Nick Kintop/Staff writer
Nick  Kintop can be reached at
linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Women’s tennis team stays ahead

As the women’s tennis team nears the end of the season, it has yet to be defeated by any other Northwest Conference team despite its losses in non-conference matches.

The Wildcats matched up with the Pirates of Whitworth University on April 7. Traveling to Spokane, Wash., Linfield competed in nine matches, six singles and three doubles.

The first Wildcat to claim a win was senior Abby Olbrich, defeating Whitworth senior Alli Marshall. Olbrich won her first match against Marshall, 6-1. In the second match, Olbrich won 6-0.

The second win for Linfield was by freshman Kaila Nip. Facing off with Whitworth freshman Saryn Mooney, Kaila Nip won both of matches. Also winning a singles match was senior Kiana Nip, winning both her matches, 6-4.

Linfield swept the doubles competition.

First to compete were Olbrich and sophomore Caroline Brigham, who won their match, 8-4.

Sister team Kaila and Kiana Nip won 8-5, defeating Whitworth’s Steele and Mooney.

The final doubles team, made up of junior Lexi Thomas and freshman Kelly Watanabe, beat senior Claire Hemming and junior Megan Wingfield, 9-7.

Starting off the winning weekend, the Wildcats faced off with Whitman College on April 6 in Walla Walla, Wash.

Linfield won five of the nine matches, taking all three double competitions.

“This was a weekend of tough competition for us, but we pulled through and it was definitely a team effort”, Watanabe said. “We swept in doubles in both matches which I think helped our team a lot. Since we already played and defeated Whitman and Whitworth before, we played with a lot of confidence and everyone fought hard during their match.”

While the Wildcats have a spotless record in the Northwest Conference, the team lost two games March 30 and 31 while at a California competition. This puts the team’s overall record at 11-4.

In their next home match, the Wildcats will compete against the University of Puget Sound on April 13.

With the NWC tournament quickly approaching, Linfield is busy preparing.

“We are preparing for the NWC Tournament by practicing hard and doing practice matches against each other to help prepare us for the competition,” Kaila Nip said.

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Kaylyn Peterson/
Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

’Cats swing, miss during match

Junior Kadin Hashimoto faces of with Whitworth University sophomore Dustin McConnell on April 7 at home. Kate Straube/Staff photographer

The season is close to wrapping up for the Linfield Men’s Tennis team.

Between March 22 and 26, the Wildcats played a series of five away matches in Texas, each one ending in a loss.

The following weekend, the ‘Cats lost to Lewis & Clark University, 6-3.

“I didn’t feel like I played great, only winning one match, but it was a great learning experience,” freshman Micah Roos said about the matches in Texas.

This season has been a learning experience for all of the players. More than half of the team is freshmen and players who have never played at a college varsity level.

“I’ve learned a lot about who I am as a player and what I need to work on,” Roos said.

Freshman Matthijs Baurichter, a foreign exchange student from the Netherlands, said he has greatly enjoyed being part of the team.

“It’s been a great opportunity, we don’t have [tennis] like this in the Netherlands,” Baurichter said.

In the Netherlands, Baurichter participates in  club tennis and said he is used to what equates to a junior varsity level of play.

Baurichter has never played at a college varsity level, so this season has been  challenging.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing here. I like playing college sports, because we’ve become close friends when hanging out together outside of tennis. When you live together, you become closer,” Baurichter said.

As the end of the season draws closer, senior Cody Levien is no longer playing singles matches, allowing younger players to get some time on the court.

Levien has led the team this year, but will be passing on the torch to junior Zach Lyons.

“I’m ready to step down from the leadership position and let the freshmen grow some more.” Levien said

Lyons and Levien have played in No. 1 doubles together this season and are currently 10-6.

“I’m honored to have played with this great group of guys and I’m very proud of the improvement they’ve made through the year even though it’s been a tough one,” Levien said.

On April 7 and 8, the Wildcats hosted Whitworth University and Whitman College, both matches ending in a 9-0 loss.

The Wildcats are currently at 2-15 overall and 2-8 in NWC standings.

Linfield will next compete against the University of Puget Sound on April 13  in Tacoma, Wash.

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Caleb Goad/
Staff writer
Caleb Goad can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

Wildcats surpass Pac. Lutheran in NWC standings

Sophomore Nate McClellan hits a single during the sixth inning April 7 at Roy Helser field. Kate Straube/Staff photographer

Where will the Wildcats be at the end of the season? They still have a shot at first and their playoff hopes remain alive.

The ‘Cats baseball team traveled to Concordia this week to get in a game before facing second ranked Pacific Lutheran University.

The ‘Cats played 11 innings of competitive baseball until they finally were able to cross the plate one more time, in the top of the 11th, and then held on to win the game 3-2.

“The Concordia game gave us an opportunity to get everyone some live looks so we could come into the weekend looking sharp” senior Casey Cameron said.

And look sharp they did. The first game against the PLU Lutes showed some excellent pitching by senior Ryan Larson, who pitched seven innings while only allowing six hits and one earned run.

Senior Spencer Crepeaux came in to finish the game and pitched two scoreless innings with three strike outs.

The ‘Cats batters also showed their abilities by racking up 12 hits and 11 runs in the 11-1 route of the Lutes.

The second game of the series was also a successful outing for the ‘Cats. Senior Zach Manley pitched six innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs.

Senior Robert Vaughn came in for three innings, allowing only one hit, striking out four, recording his second save of the season.

Though the ‘Cats only put up six hits, they made the most out of them by scoring six runs throughout the game. Once again, strong pitching by  Linfield held the Lutes to only two runs. The ‘Cats won the game, 6-2.

The third game was back and forth, and the ‘Cats were down by one in the bottom of the sixth when senior Zach Boskovich stepped up to the plate.

Whispers among the crowd were hoping for a swing of the bat to tie up the game. Boskovich did just that. As soon as the bat made contact with the ball, it was obvious that the ball was going over the fence.

The following inning, off a single by junior Kyle Chamberlain, junior Jordan Harlow advanced from second to touch home plate, putting the ‘Cats up by one.

Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, they lost the lead in the following inning and were unable to score in the following innings, losing the final game of the series 5-6.

“Overall the weekend was very positive,” senior Jesse Boustead said. “We did a lot of things as a team that lead to some big wins. We battled through everything and played strong for all 27 innings. If we continue to do that we’ll be in good shape.”

The next games will be April 13 at Chapman University in southern California. The team will play four non-league games, looking to get a playoff bid.

Through a string of away games, the Wildcat’s next home game will be May 4 against Lewis-Clark State.

ing six hits and one earned run.

Senior Spencer Crepeaux came into finish the game and pitched two scoreless innings with three strike outs.

The ‘Cats batters also showed their abilities by racking up 12 hits and 11 runs in the 11-1 route of the Lutes.

The second game of the series was again a successful outing for the ‘Cats. Senior Zach Manley pitched six innings giving up four hits and two earned runs. Robert Vaughn came in for three innings allowing only one hit, struck four people out and got his second save of the season.

Though the ‘Cats only put up six hits they made the most out of them by scoring six runs throughout the game. Once again strong pitching by the Linfield pitchers held the Lutes to only two runs. ‘Cats won the game 6-2.

The third game was back and forth and when the ‘Cats were down by one in the bottom of the sixth when senior Zach Boskovich stepped up to the plate.

Quiet whispers among the crowd were hoping for a swing of the bat to tie up the game. Boskovich did just that. As soon as the ball made contact with the bat it was obvious that the ball was leaving the ball park.

The following inning off a single by junior Kyle Chamberlain Jordan Harlow advanced from second to home and tagged the upper hand corner of the plate blocked by the Lutes’ catcher to beat the throw and put the ‘Cats up by one.

Unfortunately for the ‘Cats they lost the lead in the following inning and were unable to score in the following innings. Losing the final game of the series 5-6.

“Overall the weekend was very positive,” senior Jesse Boustead said. “We did a lot of things as a team that lead to some big wins. We battled through everything and played strong for all 27 innings. If we continue to do that we’ll be in good shape.”

The next games will be at Chapman University in southern California. They will play four non-league games and look to further their cause at gaining a bid for playoffs.

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Carson Crepeaux/
Staff writer
Carson Crepeaux can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.