Category Archives: Athletics

Running with the Bulls

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With the Bulls tipping off their regular season in two days at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, Bulls fans, not just from Chicago, but around the world, are beyond excited. As everyone knows, Derrick Rose has not played a full season since his 2010-2011 MVP campaign. That alone has fans on the edge, but the off-season acquisitions of all-star forward Pau Gasol, National college player of the year, Doug McDermott (via trade with the Denver Nuggets on draft day), Nikola Mirotic (who was voted best player in the world outside of the NBA last year), and several other signings (such as Aaron Brooks), have people talking about the Bulls winning it all, despite what Cleveland may have cooked up over the summer. There are a few things to consider.

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Derrick Rose.

With what is now referred to as the The Third Coming of Derrick Rose, many are skeptical of how injury prone he really is. As mentioned earlier, Rose hasn’t played a full season in some time due to two serious injuries. Rose seemed to come back stronger than ever his last return, play exceptionally well in preseason, lose rhythm during the first ten games of the regular season and get injured. So why would this time be any different? Well, there are several reasons.

Derrick has grown. During his last return (while not rushed timetable wise), he just wanted to do anything to get back on the court. This time, he has learned to take care of his body. He has changed his diet and learned to better prepare for games (in regards to stretching and warming up). Furthermore, his time off the court has allowed him to see the game from a different perspective. Rose has a better understanding of the game when it comes to getting his teammates involved, picking better shots, avoiding contact, etc. During preseason, not only has he dazzled spectators, he has proven to be a smarter and more confident player. Finally, Rose had the opportunity to shake off the rust during the World Championship. If he’s healthy, the Bulls have a legitimate shot at winning a title.

Health.

The Bulls (not even referring to Rose) are often times an injury prone team. It seems that every season at least one player comes into training camp rehabbing some kind of injury. This year Joakim Noah is still recovering (even though he’s playing) from knee surgery. Even though Derrick is the key to a championship, Joakim Noah (arguably the second best player on the team), must be healthy. Kirk Hinrich always runs into injury trouble. If Derrick can stay healthy for the season, that can shave off minutes for Hinrich and hopefully keep him fresh for the playoffs. Pau Gasol is the third concern. At his age he is more injury prone that most of the other guys on the team. Keeping him in good health is essential.

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Coaching.

To say that Tom Thibodeau is a great coach is an understatement. In the four years he has been a coach, Thibs has won Coach of the year and become the fastest coach to 100 wins. For several seasons he has made the best use of players that were available to him, always proclaiming, “We have more that enough to win.” This winning has been fostered by Thibodeau’s constant preaching of defense and hustle. He does have one flaw that separates him from the likes of Greg Popovich. Thibodeu tends to overplay his players to the point where they are completely burned out for the playoffs. Like Pop, Thibs has to accept that some games in the regular season just aren’t worth risking that much energy. However, he now has the luxury of having many great players which should help maintain “normal” minutes for his players.

Line-Ups

As mentioned, Thibs has plenty in his arsenal to choose from, but how does he utilize that many good players. It is clear that even after the eight game preseason, there is no set rotation. The Bulls have arguably the best front court in the league. Noah and Gasol are backed by Gibson and Mirotic. Gibson could easily be a starter on half the other teams in the league, and Mirotic’s potential is through the roof. While Noah and Gasol starting seems to be set in stone, the main question is who will close games. Does Thibodeau put the starters in or let Gibson finish instead of Gasol for his defensive prowess? Maybe even take out Gibson and put in Mirotic to build his confidence, especially since he’s proved to be a pretty good defender.

At small forward, Mike Dunleavy seems to have the starting spot. Should he keep it? McDermott cold benefit from playing with the guys in the starting line-up, especially since he will most likely have a starting spot next season. This is by no means a knock on Dunleavy who I consider a great player with superb fundamentals and a nice touch, but being a veteran, he might be most effective coming off the bench to balance out the youth, and he would have more energy to have a greater impact.

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Finally, Rose and Butler starting at the 1 and 2 is undebatable, but who backs them up is a good question. Hinrich will most definitely back up Rose, but what about the two spot? Will Thibs play Aaron Brooks (and have him change off for ball handling with Hinrich), or will he start to give Tony Snell, the second year man who is inconsistent but shows flashes of being a quality player, a chance to prove he is worthy of having a decent amount of minutes? What makes matters more confusing is that Thibs likes to play Hinrich alongside Rose which cuts into Butler’s minutes. It seems that the need to have a good second unit will not allow three young players, and Tony Snell will most likely be the odd man out.

Winning it all?

Personally, I think the Bulls have a chance to bring back the Larry O’Brien  Trophy to Chicago. One thing to keep in mind is that Derrick Rose will not be able to do it alone. Nevertheless, he might not have to. This is unarguably the best supporting cast Rose has had thus far, and with Noah’s emergence as a point center, as well as Hinrich’s presence, Rose can catch a break and look to play off the ball. As a Bulls fan, I hope that the Bulls can win a title this year, but it is important to keep in mind that even if they don’t, the young talent the team possess, promises a good future in Bulls basketball.

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Student athletes and social media!

In this day in age everyone has some form of social media. I’m sure even your parents have Facebook or play the occasional game of Candy Crush. Social media  plays a role in our everyday life. From event invites, tweets, Instagram likes and reblogs, everything is through social media. Companies are now relying completely on social media to advertise their products. Everything you post, tweet and blog are visible for everyone to see. For student athletes this is especially important because they are a representation of the school they compete for.  These students have the power to make things happen with a single tweet.

With so many students tweeting and using social media at the collegiate level the concern for students abusing social media is present. It takes only one athlete to make a mistake using social media to hinder the image of all student athletes. Unfortunately for athletes, the tainted image of an athlete doing wrong is more often seen than when they are doing right.  But ever so often athletes are recognized for doing incredible things! Athletes should be aware of what they are posting on social media because they are a direct representation of their school. A lot of coaches and universities follow their athletes and post season updates using social media. If you allow your coach or athletic department to follow your personal account on social media you should be advised as to what you are putting out there for everyone to see. If you have to think twice about whether or not a post is inappropriate then chances are it should not be posted. The athletic department and coaching staff are there for the athletes and fully support them, but when the abuse of social media comes into play then the coaches have to do what is best for the team and university as a whole. Consequences for students not being responsible on social media may include suspension from the team, or sitting out on a game or being kicked off the team permanently.

Social media has been transformed and is used in about every business there is. It is used to bring people together, get the word out, spread ideas and used to express ourselves. For student athletes this form of communication can be bennoficial or detrimental to their collegiate careers. Using social media responsibly is a great way to ensure no harm is done with your viral postings. The rule of thumbs should be, if you have to think twice about whether or not your post will offend anyway, then it probably should not be posted!

Happy posting!

Staying Emotionally Stable

College is so many things: fun, exciting, nerve-wracking, joyful, stressful, annoying, scary, and unpredictable. It’s easy to get swept up in all of the chaos that is college and get blindsided by the stress, but there are several ways to prevent the negatives from outweighing the positives. During the first few weeks in a new school, we do what every other student is trying to do: rush to make friends quickly and easily in the hopes of finding a place where we belong. What many people fail to realize is that having a bunch of superficial friends isn’t enough to get and stay happy because there is no guarantee that these people are going to stay with you for the long journey that is your college career.

Everyone has heard about the devastating suicide of Madison Holleran,which was caused by her feelings of being overwhelmed by classes, despite her active role in athletics and her numerous supportive friends. It is so very easy for stress to get the best of you and to begin feeling like your best efforts just aren’t good enough, but it is important to know that you are important and it is going to be good enough. As said in various reports, she told her parents that she felt extremely pressured by her classes, yet refused the offer to transfer to any other school that could reduce her anxiety. If you are unhappy at your school, seek help from anyone who will give it: friends, a teacher, your coach, or even the school’s psychologist, because getting your emotions under control and having the right mindset is essential to fighting off the thoughts that tell you are done.

In the case of Madison, she did what most students are too scared to, she let her parents know about her change in emotions and thinking. While it seems like the best thing to keep your feelings in, but letting your family know you are struggling is essential to let someone in your family know so that they can get you any help you might need. Madison’s parents offered many things, including a transfer from school, and got her to see a therapist. Unfortunately, despite their great efforts, she chose to go back to the same school, which is where she took her life and left everyone in her life heartbroken.

Most people don’t realize how much they truly impact the lives of those around them, which is what makes people so emotionally unstable in the first place. If you think your friends don’t care, just remember that they might just be going through something themselves or that maybe they be really distracted. That friend who seems happy all the time might just be the same person who relies on your advice and support. If you feel overwhelmed by the expectations of your teachers, it is so easy to go talk to them.

If your problem does have to do with your classes or amount of homework, go visit your teachers during their office hours or send them a quick email and let them know that your are having problems. Teachers really do care about your welfare in their classes and will often work out a plan with you to help you get and stay on track. Teachers are very versatile with meeting your needs and are eager to help you in most ways. If you feel like you aren’t retaining the information, ask about tutoring opportunities and possible meetings with the teacher to go over what you are struggling with the most.

If you are struggling emotionally and feel vulnerable and overwhelmed by everything going on in your life, make sure you talk to someone and get help to resolve any issues you are having.

Smoothies for days

Always a quick snack or even a meal if you add the right ingredients is a smoothie!!! There are tons of affordable blenders available that are in a budget of a college student but of course you need recipes for your smoothie blender!

Raspberry Vanilla Smoothie- makes 2 cups
ingredients- 1 cup of frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk unsweetened and 6 oz of vanilla greek yogurt.

Iron & C Booster Smoothie- makes 1 cup
ingredients- 1/2 field cucumber, 1 cup of green grapes, 1/2 cup spinach, 2 small kiwis and 1-2 cups of water.

Banana and peanut butter smoothie with cacao powder- with protein for an extra kick
1 peeled frozen banana, 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter, 2 tablespoons cacao powder, and 1/3 cup water into a blender. Blend until smooth. Serves 1. Extras: Throw in protein powder, 2 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut, a handful of raw almonds, pinch ground cinnamon, or 2 tablespoons rolled oats.

Strawberry banana smoothie- 1 cup
10 oz fresh strawberries,2 ripe bananas,3 tablespoons honey
1 cup ice cubes, 3/4 cup milk, yogurt (your favorite flavor).

Peach Smoothie- 2/3 cups-
2 cups of frozen unsweetened peaches, 1/4 cup of concentrated orange juice, 2 tbsp of sugar, 2 cups of milk, 5 or 6 ice cubes.

Strawberry lemonade smoothie -2 cups
2 cups of frozen strawberries, 1 tsp of honey, 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract pure, 2 cups of lemonade and 5 1/3 oz of greek lemon flavored yogurt.

sneaky Spinach Smoothie- 1 cup
1/2 banana, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup coconut milk, 1 handful of spinach and 1 tbsp chia seeds.

apple pecan pie smoothie- fat burner-
An apple with the skin left on, 1/4 unsalted pecans, 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 3 to 4 ice cubes,1 tablespoons vanilla protein powder, 1 tablespoon coconut butter, A dash of cinnamon to taste,A dash of nutmeg.

These are just a few of the millions and millions of smoothies there are out there! a great website to find all different kinds at is Pinterest which is my favorite place to look cause there usually easy and simple to make!

Join SAAC!

If you’re a student athlete at Benedictine and are looking for a club to join, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is the perfect club for you. This club holds events around campus in order to better the student-athlete experience. If you are a leader in your sport you should definitely join, but non-athletes can certainly join as well because  the events held are meant for everyone to participate in. Recently, some of my cross-country/track teammates and I have joined because many of SAAC’s members are graduating next year. We are looking for every sport to be represented in SAAC. If you are interested in joining, contact Emma Berndt or Patrick Ives (President and Vice President) or even me :). The club is flexible and meets about 2 times a month, except when we have an event coming up and we might need to meet more.

SAAC is led by the students and is meant to better the student-athlete experience. We work to create better facilities and more opportunities for athletes on campus. Some of the upcoming events we are interested in holding this semester are a campus clean-up and a Coaches’ Olympics.  We are working on these events right now so if you’d like to have a say, come to a meeting as soon as possible. Many of these events include food or prizes :). This could be a great thing to put on a resume because it shows your leadership abilities. Meeting will most likely be held during lunch times, but the group is very flexible. Like I said, many of the club members are graduating, so in the upcoming year we will be looking for people to take over leadership roles in the club (President, VP, Treasurer, etc.). We are the link between the athletes and the athletic board members at the school and we can inform them on what we need. One of the things in the works is a student-athlete lounge in Rice, where people can hang out in between class and practice or have meetings.

This club has a lot of potential to do some great things, and it won’t take much time out of your busy schedule. So all in all,  if you want to get your voice heard and work on fun events, join SAAC :).