Cancellation of March Madness

Due to the Coronavirus also known as Covid-19 the NCAA cancels march madness in response. The people in charge of this cancelation are the President Mark Emmert and the board of governors; they made this decision to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. The CDC reports that groups of 250 or more should not be together preventing fans, teams, and workers to be able to watch games. 

The tournaments held by the NCAA  are the biggest events for them for the year which doesn’t help them and drops their profits and viewings. Some of the coaches were disappointed to hear the news and some weren’t so disappointed because some of their teams were already canceled for the rest of the season. 

“Gonzaga University men’s basketball coach Mark Few was live on ESPN when news of the cancellation broke. He said that he was “extremely disappointed” and that he felt the tournaments could have been postponed.”     -NBC News 

In the history of sports this was called the biggest decision made by the body of sports in the history of response to an outbreak. Even other sports like Major leagues such as hockey, soccer, and baseball have either canceled their season or postponed their season. NCAA’s division 1 mens basketball tournament has been held every year since 1938; it wasn’t even canceled when former president Ronald Reagan was almost assassinated the same day as the tournament. Which causes this to be such a big deal in the body of sports and fans.

“As much as I dislike having to say this, I can’t see putting players out on the floor in the current climate,”          -Bilas

Sun Yang, caught again

Sun Yang, the three-time Olympic swimmer, has been banned from competing for the next eight years in the midst of a doping scandal, the Court of Arbitration for Sports said. 

An eight-year ban is the longest ban that can be handed out, and it isn’t the first time Yang has been suspended. Yang was found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs previously, and in that case, it was because of the prescribed medication trimetazidine. The suspension at that time was only for a few months, but this case is much more severe. 

“Today’s CAS ruling confirms those concerns and is a significant result. We will now need to take time to review the decision in full, and we will continue to review diligently all anti-doping decisions taken by Code Signatories to ensure they are in line with the Code and, when warranted, to exercise our independent right of appeal.”

Yang supposedly, after getting tested in his home, instructed one of the men who were a part of his entourage of security guards, to destroy the testing vile with a hammer instead of handing it over to The World Doping Agency. He told officials that the testers didn’t have proper identification. 

“The CAS Panel unanimously determined, to its comfortable satisfaction, that the Athlete violated Article 2.5 FINA DC (Tampering with any part of Doping Control).”

Sun Yang has 14 Olympic titles to his name and was the first man to medal in every event from the 500 meter swim to the 1500 meter swim. Though Yang has taken part in his fair share of controversy, he was able to uphold a strong fan base because of how monumental he has been for Chinese swimming. He was the first man from China to win gold at the Olympics in swimming. 

“I firmly believe in my innocence,” Sun said. “I will definitely appeal to let more people know the truth.”

Yang is supporting his own innocence and is trying to appeal the case so that he can compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Other swimmers who have competed against Yang are now demanding that he should have his medals stripped as well as his 2019 world title. 

Carlos Carrasco Striking Out Cancer

The Cleveland Indians pitching core have achieved an accomplishment that is unlike no other. It has no name, no trophy, no medal or certificate. 32 year old MLB pitcher Carlos Carrasco, was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid leukemia. Carrasco spent most of the 2019 season in the hospital fighting his cancer. 

While his playing career was interrupted, Carlos’s personality and giving nature never susceptead to the tough battle of his disease. 

“He’d come into the locker room and he was the same happy guy, spreading love and happiness, going to the children’s hospital and making donations, doing all the things he’s always done while still fighting his own fight,” starter Shane Bieber said. “It’s incredible — only Cookie could turn that kind of situation into a more positive situation for others.”

During his fight he never stopped his love and support of the community. He continued to visit cancer patients at the Cleveland Clinic. He continued to help out the homeless, the people in need, and making donations.

During his time, he has also donated $300,000 to refugee camps for Venezuelans in Columbia, and collects books to help kids learn how to read. Carrasco started a foundation as well fro medical supplies in poverty stricken areas in which he has raised over $2.7 million. 

“I don’t want to be home thinking about it, because we are human beings, and when something really bad happens, we think about it a lot, a lot, a lot,” he said. “I don’t want to be one of those guys that goes home and feels sick — no. I just want to go out there and do the same thing that I’m doing. That helps a lot.” – Carrasco

After fighting this disease for 3 months, Carrasco pitched 11 relief innings for the Indians. He averaged 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings as well. Carlos has not let his cancer battle affect his performance and optimism.

The clubhouse representatives and team members, are always there for him and have been throughout his journey. Yet they all claim that Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco has not changed one bit, and that the Cookie himself has stayed fresh.

Former University of Maine Running Back Murdered

A man, Zaire Williams, was shot dead in Philadelphia at the beginning of this month where he attended Temple University before he transferred to University of Maine.

He was shot and killed by 22-year-old Anthony Nieves who is being charged with murder, reckless endangerment and weapon crimes, aggravated and simple assault.

Williams playing for Temple University

Police report that the shooting was caused by a confrontation that happened shortly before. The alleged fight between Williams and Nieves was quickly broken up by bystanders. Shortly after shots were fired from Anthony Nieves which are the fatal shots that shot Zaire Williams in the head and killing him.

Williams started his football career at Rimber Creek High School in Sicklerville, New Jersey, where he was ranked the 16th best player in New Jersey. He then continued on to played a total of two football seasons for Temple University as running back and continued his football career at University of Maine

Williams former teammates and friends send out their condolences online to the fellow friends and family of Zaire. His former high school assistant coach, Amin Muhammad says

“One of those people you could depend on in tough situations. Either way, he was always there for you and very encouraging. He was one of those people who always greeted you with a hug and a smile regardless of what was going on.”

Athletes Get a Taste of Military Training

The NFL raises a lot of awareness to help and support the United States military. They even have a whole month of their football season that is dedicated to them. This month takes place in November and is called Salute to Service. Even though salute to service takes place in November, it is a year round effort of nonprofits and organizations that support the military community in the United States and across the world.

Many NFL players themselves also go out to the community to help and give back to their service members. But sometimes athletes will go and train with Military personnel to hope to find new ways that they can train and improve their game.

On Thursday March 5th, Adrian Peterson, former NFL MVP and corner back Josh Norman both of the Washington Redskins, were both in Israel for a collaboration with RoboActive #2069 an Israeli high school group that participated in the international FIRST Robotics Competition. They later ended up teaming up with Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and they completed obstacles and lessons in Krav Maga at Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel. 

“To go through some of the training and see the focus that it takes, the mental toughness…it just gives you a different appreciation for the training they do on a daily basis,” Peterson said.

They were also brief by the IDF on threats that Israel faces from other counties like Gaza, Syria and Lebanon.

“I think the whole Israel experience has opened my eyes up to much more,” Norman said.

Not only is it football athletes that train with military personnel, but a lot of Olympic athletes do as well. In 2011 the US men’s water polo got a taste of what it is like to go through SEAL training. SEAL training is know as BUDS(Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training), it is a 3 phase training program that last about 6 months. This is considered the toughest military training in the world. 

Some of the biggest reasons why athletes train with the SEALs is because of the Emphasis on team work and how the SEALs are recognized for their skill in the water. This is especially helpful for the US Water Polo team. 

U.S Olympic Committee Covers Up Sexual Abuse?

Larry Nassar awaiting results of his trial

The reputation of USA Gymnastics has been in jeopardy since November 2016, when Rachael Joy Denhollander was the first to accuse Dr. Lawrence Nassar of continual sexual abuse. Since then, the number of girls who have stated to have been accused by Nassar in their youth has skyrocketed, including USA Gymnastics stars like Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, and McKayla Maroney.

Nassar was first accused of sexual abuse in November 2016, by Rachael Joy Denhollander, who was the first gymnast to come forward with these allegations. Nassar is the former team doctor for both Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics. This sparked what grew to be more than one hundred women launching statements of the abuse against Nassar, and on January 24, 2018, he was sentenced to serve forty to one hundred and seventy-five years in prison because of testimonies made by the women he abused. 

One of the gymnasts to come forward and testify against Nassar was two-time Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman. The first time that he abused her was in Melbourne, Australia, when she was competing. An official with USA Gymnastics recommended that she see Nassar, after noticing her wincing with back and heel pain. She was told he was a great doctor, and that she should consider herself lucky to have him “work” on her. What she didn’t know was that this was the first of many times Nassar would abuse her. 

““He was always that person who would stick up for me and make me feel like he had my back. The more I think about it, the more I realize how twisted he was, how he manipulated me to make me think that he had my back when he didn’t.” -Aly Raisman

In July 2015, three years after Raisman had won three medals at her first Olympics, she was informed by USA Gymnastic president Steve Penny that an investigator would be coming to her house, but was never told why. The investigator asked her if she felt safe or if anyone had made her uncomfortable. They then started to ask specific questions about Nassar. When met with that topic, Raisman began to make excuses for him, saying he did make her feel uncomfortable, but that he was a doctor, and he would often bring her and the other girls gifts.

When the investigator left, Raisman said she realized that Nassar had abused her, and the treatment she received was not medical. When she called USA Gymnastics back the next day to make a statement about her abuse, she was told to not interfere with the investigation. She later went on to testify against Nassar, which was one among many testimonies to land him in prison. 

Along with Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles have also come forward as victims of Nassars abuse. Biles stated that USA Gymnastics withheld the information about Nassar’s investigation from her, even though she was one of the first gymnasts to come forward feeling uncomfortable with his treatment. This, along with hundreds of other statements, was the end of the line for Larry Nassar, who will be in prison for life.

Some of Nassar’s victims testifying at his trial

Many people are questioning the USA Gymnastics committee because of the way they handled this horrible situation. Athletes, such as Biles and Raisman, feel as though the organization failed at their one job, protecting them and keeping them safe. Since then, Raisman has decided not to return to gymnastics with the United States team, but Biles continues to pursue another Olympic title at the 2020 games.

“I don’t mean to cry, but it’s hard coming here for an organization having had them fail us so many times. And we had one goal and we’ve done everything that they’ve asked us for, even when we didn’t want to and they couldn’t do one damn job. You had one job. You literally had one job and you couldn’t protect us.”

Simone Biles

Could the Worlds Largest Sporting Event Proceed Without Spectators?

Olympic fans may not be allowed to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, due to the recent coronavirus outbreak in neighboring countries and the fear of the virus spreading through crowds.

During a conference call with the World Health Organization last week, Olympic officials discussed the possibility of holding the 2020 Tokoyo games without fans. The possibility of having 10,000 athletes from all around the world compete in the world’s greatest athletic competition but having empty stadiums and villages is a sad thought. The Olympics are months away and experts can’t say where it is headed, so officials are only considering these options.

“It is a dynamically changing situation,” said Dr.Finnoff, The chief medical doctor of the Olympics. “Two weeks ago there were no issues with travel to Italy, and now there are a significant number of cases in northern Italy.”

Sporting Events and parades all over the world have already been canceled by officials scared of the virus spreading like wildfire through contained crowds. With over 110,000 confirmed cases affecting people across 115 countries the risk of the Olympics bringing people together from all over the world is fearful.    

The virus is already responsible for careful citizens canceling their trips to the Olympics. The Olympic organization has already taken an economic hit by the virus. A proposed idea was setting up a screening prosses for fans, athletes, and Olympic employees were considered. The issue with this, however, is that once into the villages no one would be allowed to leave and this process would cause the Games a lot of money that they just don’t have. 

“We had H1N1 before Vancouver in 2010 and the issues with Zika before Rio. This is not new, but each situation is different. We are getting a lot of inquiries. There is no indication that the Games are not going to occur, but I tell them to listen to the appropriate recommendations in terms of safety.” said Finnoff when asked about how the Olympic committee plans to deal with the outbreak, during an interview with the New York Times.

Another possibility for the games is to hold have the events that are held outside in an open area with fans. The games that are played inside a closed arena would not have fans. The idea is that the virus has a better chance of spreading inside a closed space with little air movement. Fortunately, the summer Olympics consist of mainly outdoor events and this plan would limit the effect on the games. 

The Great 8

The great 8 Alexander Ovechkin joined an extremely elite club on February 22 when he managed to score his 700 goal of his NHL career against then New Jersey Devils in a 3-2 lose, Ovechkin scored the fourth goal of the game and become the 7 man to join the exclusive 700 goal club.

“It’s a special moment,” Ovechkin told reporters. “When you get closer you start thinking when it’s going to happen. Finally, it’s over so we don’t have to talk about it anymore. We’re going to move on.”

Alexander Ovechkin has a history of being an elite goal scorer in his 13 seasons as a forward in the NHL. He has averaged an astonishing 53 goals per season and with the pace that Ovechkin is currently at he is projected and expected to become the all time leading scorer in the NHL at this point it’s just a matter of time and consistency from him. If Alexander Ovechkin can stay healthy then he is going to become the leagues all time leader in goals in the next 4 or 5 seasons.

“I remember talking about Gretzky, his records and how many goals he scored, and everybody said that was unbeatable,” said the former defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who frequently matched up with Ovechkin in both pro and international play. “Now, if Ovi stays healthy and he can play four or five more years, it’s reachable.”

Ovechkin Scoring his 700 Goal

While Alexander Ovechkin has become one of the famous people to ever play hockey and one of the most loved by the fans it wasn’t always that way. When Ovechkin started off his playing career he was looked at as a Russian scumbag who didn’t play hockey the right way.

He single handedly changed the sport of hockey and how it has been played. He showed people that hockey could be an extremely fast sport and an extremely physical one by ushering in a new way to play the sport by mixing together the perfect amount of skill with his game and the right amount physicality by showing people that he could still deliver big hits.

Ovechkin by playing the way that he did made a lot of players not like him because his play style was so different. He was looked at as a selfish player who only cared about himself and how many points he was getting.

That simply wasn’t the case though as he has proven it throughout his long and amazing career finally getting his long awaited Stanley Cup last season.

“Even after that many goals, every goal he scores is like his first goal in the N.H.L.; he’s jumping around and he’s very excited,” said Jari Kurri, who retired as the N.H.L.’s leading European-born goal scorer, since passed by Teemu Selanne, Ovechkin and Jagr.

David Ortiz: Returning to Life as a Beloved Boston Figure After Near-Death Experience

David Ortiz thanking the fans of Boston prior to throwing the first pitch at a September 9, 2019 MLB series finale game

David Ortiz, an MLB All Star MVP, will live in the history books of baseball and in the hearts of the people of Boston for decades to come. When he was shot on June 9th 2019 and nearly died as a result, all baseball fans were shocked and concerned. When one Boston fan was asked about Ortiz’s impact on his life, he commented: “He is part of us. He helped us break the curse in 2004.” David Ortiz played with the Boston Red Sox for 14 seasons, which included 3 World Series championships. The first win came in 2004, and it was the Boston Red Sox’s first World Series win in 86 years.

After Ortiz was shot, he was rushed to a hospital in the Dominican Republic in critical condition, where he received an emergency surgery. The Boston Red Sox Association sent representatives to aid in his recovery. Ortiz was then flown home to Boston, where he was treated at Massachusetts General Hospital and later released in July. He spent six weeks on machines and while reflecting on this ordeal he stated: “You don’t know the value of it until you face the situation.”

As a celebrity in Boston, David Ortiz has spent much of this century being a staple in the culture of Boston. In 2013 following the horrific Boston marathon bombing, David Ortiz, affectionately known as Big Papi, stood as a symbol of hope. Former President Barack Obama said of this: “David Ortiz’s spirit and resolve helped us all begin to heal from the Boston Marathon bombing.” David Ortiz has also been a charitable figure, and has visited many hospital patients during and after his career in baseball. After his time in the hospital, he understands the value of these visits and stated: “Now I understand how important that is for a patient.”

See Ortiz talk more about his recovery here:

Since the accident and recovery, David Ortiz has been welcomed back into his life as a star of Boston, starting with throwing the first pitch out at a Boston Red Sox v. New York Yankees game on September 9, 2019. He was welcomed onto the field with a rousing standing ovation and thanked the fans and players of Boston and beyond for their love and prayers.

Beyond his appearance when throwing the first pitch, Ortiz has appeared in commercials for Dunkin Donuts and recently appeared in a Boston-based Super Bowl ad for Hyundai. In his personal life, in August 2019, David Ortiz helped his middle child, daughter Alex, move into her dorm room at Berklee College of Music.

Ortiz with daughter Alex at Berklee College of Music

David Ortiz continues to be both a supportive father, loving husband, and adored figure of Boston. He does plan to return to his native country of the Dominican Republic, but with a much more cautious and careful attitude than ever before. His recovery continues, but he remains optimistic and courageous, something he has always been.

How Technology Has Changed Education

Technology has been taking over education and constantly changing the curriculums in schools while advertising more classes online and changing the you enroll into school and pick classes. While technology is fastly growing and constantly gaining more and more popularity. Unfortunately it has its downs like loss of jobs and less graduation rates. 

Technology would be getting rid of physical campuses in the future if it were to one day be more craved than physical classes. A reason as to why online courses would be more wanted are because student would have access to cheaper online subscriptions and whatever classes they would want. Online subscriptions would means instead of enrolling into a college you would rather subscribe into a college and have the free will to choose what classes and courses you would take. With the loss of job it also creates more like, teachers who teach but do not teach physically just online.

“One of the most important things we do here is disprove and dismantle ideas,” said William Zemp, chief strategy and innovation officer at Southern New Hampshire University.

Boise State University has started the subscription plan starting at $425 a month for six credit hours and $525 for nine in either two bachelor degree programs, making it 30% more cheaper than regular tuition. With students being projected to finish their schooling within 18 months. 47 students have subscribed but another 94 are going through the application process. 

“If we could catch early signals, we could go to them much earlier and say, ‘Hey you’re still in the window’ ” to pass, said Donna Kidwell, chief technology officer of the university’s digital teaching and learning lab, EdPlus.

This pie chart shows that online classes are growing in the state of maine. Although only two of the five schools only have physical classes but it shows that two schools that have them cover a big margin of online students in Maine. 

Overall technology is growing bigger and smarter, challenging us everyday to get better and smarter but it has its downfalls but students seem to prefer online course more and more these days because it is able to work around their schedules and not feel as pressured.