Archive for Sports

Civic Engagement Day keynote speaker: Larry Starr

by: Dyson Bowman

Yoder Recital hall was filled with students on the night of March 25, 2015 as Bluffton University’s Civic Engagement Day brought in former athletic trainer Larry Starr. Starr was first introduced to athletic training back in 1960, in the summer before his freshman year of high school, when his brother was doing lessons from the Cramer Correspondence book on athletic training.dhte

He eventually went on to attend Ohio University, where he decided that athletic training was the career for him, while learning the ways of Al Hart. While Starr was a junior at Ohio University, Hart offered him a job as assistant athletic trainer. He could not take that title due to not having his degree yet so they settled on Star being the assistant to the athletic trainer.

At the age of 23, Hart called Starr asking if he wanted to interview for a Major League Baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds. During the interview Starr was told that they loved him but were concerned with his lack of height, or in his words “vertically challenged,” and youthful appearance. A week later he was asked to come in for another interview where the same things were said about his appearance. He was hired anyway based on an impressive reference.

An orthopedic physician in Columbus, Ohio, told them that Starr “stands tall above all men,” when asked about his height. Starr second guessed his decision, wondering whether or not he should take the job. Starr’s brother persuaded him to take the job, as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

1974, after being with the reds for a few years, Starr noticed that the players weren’t as fit as they should be. Asking for money and permission, Starr was able to start a strength program for the team. Much of the staff/coaches believed that a strength program wasn’t smart for baseball players, and to their surprise Starr’s program led the Reds to a World Series in 1975.

“No matter what kind of player they are, there is always something good in that player,” said Starr, “You have to understand the people you work with.”
Starr believes that athletics teach individuals great things. According to him, athletics teach players to develop a great work ethic, how to overcome adversity, mentorship, and the importance of family. Being in athletics involves being away from family, as well as causing many obstacles that athletes have to overcome. You must remember where you came from, and who has helped you out along the way.

Starr concluded by saying, “It doesn’t matter how much I know, if the athlete doesn’t trust me, I am of no help to them.”

Tyler Oberly visits Bluffton

w9IJlUFyOn the afternoon of Thursday, January 22 Bluffton University hosted a mathematics seminar unlike any you’ve ever been to. Tyler Oberly, Manager of Analytics for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, addressed an eager audience with a speech titled “Sports Analytics: Diving into the math behind athletics.”

The seminar, which was open to all, focused on the emerging industry of sports analytics, and Oberly’s journey to his current position.

Analytics, without going into much detail, is the process of collecting and analyzing data, the ultimate goal being recognition of trends to improve performance. With so many teams searching for a more reliable way to measure and predict player performance, the sports analytics industry is rapidly expanding across all the major professional and collegiate leagues.

Oberly is a graduate of Bluffton High School (2006) and the University of Toledo where he majored in electrical engineering. He is married to Erin (Neal) Oberly, the daughter of Guy and Diane Neal.

He said that while he was happy creating business and risk analysis reports in the industrial world, he knew it wasn’t what he really wanted to be doing. Growing up playing football, basketball and running track, Oberly has always had a passion for sports, and knew he could turn that into a career. He just didn’t know how yet.

“I could not fall asleep after watching that movie,” said Oberly about Moneyball. “It was my eureka moment when I realized I could do this. I was already doing it, just not in a sports context.”

In his time at Toledo Oberly had begun to develop his own model for evaluating National Football League rosters and salary caps, called the Elitics PER (Player Efficiency Rating) Model. The Elitics PER Model is designed to provide one metric in reviewing all players from all positions throughout the NFL.

As one of seven finalists in the 2014 MIT Sloan Business School’s Evolution of Sport conference, Oberly was able to present his work to an audience of sports professionals looking for the next big thing that could change the face of sport.

Obviously Oberly impressed at least one person in that crowd because he was shortly thereafter hired by the Buccaneers to head up their new analytics department. He now works closely with Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht, as well as other front office personnel.

For more on Oberly and his innovative work follow him on Twitter: @tyleroberly, or check out some of his writing from his time at The Sideline View.

College athletes: rate your coach

Locker Room Talk® (www.lockerroomtalk.com) is a rating and review website for college coaches which compiles information in an easy-to-search format so that high school athletes undergoing the varsity recruiting process can make educated decisions.

Through a short, anonymous online survey, Locker Room Talk gives college players the unique ability to easily rate and review their coaches.  The website is a positive platform for college student-athletes to express their views so that high school athletes can better evaluate the programs they are considering.

“We need current and recently graduated college athletes to fill out our simple, fast, anonymous online survey to provide information about your experiences with your coach. By sharing your honest opinions, you will be helping high school athletes make the best choices for their futures,” said Oliver Loutsenko, co-founder of Locker Room Talk.

Created by former varsity college athletes as a “force for good,” Locker Room Talk® is an invaluable resource for high school athletes and their families as they prepare to make one of the most important choices of their lives.  It covers both men’s and women’s teams in sports such as football, baseball, basketball, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, skiing, swimming and more.

For more information, call 203-556-5839, visit www.lockerroomtalk.com, Facebook, Instagram (@lockerroomtalk) or Twitter (@LRTsports).

Click here to take the quick survey!

Kevin Hart gives Jameis Winston words of wisdom

download (33)-1Comedian Kevin Hart has been on an unstoppable grind lately establishing himself as a great comedian/actor and business man. While promoting his upcoming movie “The Wedding Ringer,” Kevin Hart and Hart Productions made a stop at Florida State University to talk to the football team. You can’t go to Florida State without talking to quarterback Jameis Winston; and oh boy did the star comedian have a few words for Winston.

According to TMZ, Hart told Winston, “You need to stop doing dumb s—.”

Kevin Hart is known to take shots and roast people. Hart continued joking with Winston in front of the laughing football team by saying, “I started to bring a bunch a crab legs to see if you was gonna take ‘em!”

Click to watch the video.

Winston looked salty about the jokes. Do you think Kevin Hart got the point across? How mad would have been at Kevin? Let us know what you think!

Steelers release LeGarrette Blount

“We believe the decision to release LeGarrette is in the best interest of the organization and wish him the best of luck,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said in a press release.

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they would be moving on from Blount Tuesday. When LeGarrette Blount entered the league his was considered to be a “Hot Head” with a bad temper. Blount, who signed a two-year deal as a free agent after a strong playoff performance with the Patriots last season, reportedly left the playing area in Tennessee last night before the game against the Titans ended. Blount intentionally walked off the field last night in Tennessee on Primetime TV. Starter Le’Veon Bell who shares carries with LeGarrette gained more than 200 yards on the night; Blount gained none. With Bell getting all the carries Blount decided that he didn’t want to be around the team anymore, so he left the playing area entering the locker room and was undressed before the game was over.

Eight weeks ago Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, stated that Blount had been an “internal problem” over the past month, and Blount had been “dragging down” Bell. Maybe this was the straw that broke Tomlin’s back; after further antics Mike Tomlin decided to release him Tuesday.

Blount is now eligible for waivers. Possibly the Cleveland Browns will claim Blount since they released their power back Ben Tate, who was complaining about his role.

When will LeGarrete Blount’s antics stop? What do you think Blount needs to learn from this? Which team do you think will claim Blount? Let us know what you think!

Busy weekend for Beavers athletics

This past weekend was a busy one for Bluffton athletics as the fall sports concluded and the winter sports began. The cross country, volleyball, and football teams finished their 2014 campaigns in championship competitions while both basketball squads started their push toward championship runs of their own.

Cross country runners competed in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championship which was hosted by Wilmington College. Though none of the Beavers qualified for a spot in the NCAA Championship you have to like the fact that a team with no seniors on the roster is gaining valuable experience which will certainly help them going forward.

The volleyball team fell in straight sets to the seventh-ranked Washington University Bears in the First Round of the 2014 NCAA Division III St. Louis Regional (which was on the Bears’ home court). With just one senior graduating the volleyball team’s future is also quite bright as they add much-needed experience to the obviously talented roster.

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2014 HCAC MVP Mackenzie McFarlin

Sophomore Mackenzie McFarlin was named the 2014 HCAC MVP complimenting her HCAC Tournament MVP award quite nicely. Juniors Jenny Brown, Sara Roth and Kendra Parmenter received First Team HCAC honors for their efforts during the campaign. Head coach Steve Yarnell also took home some hardware this season as he was elected HCAC Coach of the Year by the other coaches in the conference.

The women’s basketball team was also in St. Louis. They played two games in the Webster Tip-off Classic, losing the opener to Spalding University on Saturday night, and then winning the second game against the host Webster University on Sunday. They’ll play their first home game of the season this Saturday as Wooster comes to the Sommer Center.

The men’s basketball team welcomed Kalamazoo on Saturday evening, grabbing an exciting first victory. An onslaught of three-pointers and sound free-throw shooting propelled the Beavers to their impressive win. They’ll travel to Naperville, Ill. this weekend for two games in the North Central Tip-Off Tourney.

Not to diminish any of the aforementioned accomplishments, but the biggest news from the past weekend came from Dwight Salzman Stadium where the Beavers stomped the Defiance Yellow Jackets to keep The Hammer in Bluffton for the fifth consecutive season. The 44-23 final score doesn’t accurately reflect the type of game this was. The Beavers dominated their arch-rivals from the first drive of the game until the clock hit zero.

Senior quarterback Nick Sheehan set a school-record with five touchdown passes.  Four of the five were caught by senior receiver Jack Tomlinson, who, by doing so, also set a school-record.

Congratulations to the twenty seniors who ended their collegiate football careers in grand fashion and have no idea what it’s like to lose to Defiance.

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Jack Tomlinson became the only receiver in Bluffton history to catch four touchdown passes in a single game.

Last weekend officially flipped the sporting calendar from fall to winter and four inches of snow were dumped on us to drive home that fact.

So, get out your cold weather clothing, and when you see them around campus, be sure to congratulate fall athletes on their accomplishments and wish winter athletes luck in their upcoming competitions.

Not so great

Greatness was not in the eyes of the Columbus Crew as they allowed the New England Revolution to beat them in the MLS Playoffs. There were two games and both teams were allowed to play at home.

The Revolution defeated the Crew on their home field 4-2 then defeated the Crew on the Revolution’s home field 3-1. There was hoped that the Crew might turn things around in the second game, but things got out of hand when they allowed the Revolution to score in the first half of the second game.

The Crew showed promise this year, but unfortunately they did not deliver and now they have to go back and figure things out. I was disappointed because I was looking forward to seeing how they would do further in the playoffs.

The only bright spot I saw to the Crew this year was being able to attend four games including the first playoff game with my friend Kapumba. It was his first professional soccer game and it was a playoff game. We had fun, but it was frustrating to see the Crew lose at home and to read about them being eliminated from the playoffs.

As many losing team fans would say, “There is always next year.”

Beavers’ winning streak ends

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by: Joel Jacobson

The battle for 2nd place in the HCAC football rankings ended in defeat for the Beavers. The Mount Saint Joseph Lions traveled to Salzman Stadium Saturday afternoon to challenge the Beavers for 2nd place in the HCAC.

The Lions struck first with a field goal. The Beavers responded on their next drive with Nick Sheehan tossing a strike over the middle to receiver Micah Roberson who then muscled through three defenders to get to the endzone. On the next drive, the Lions were able to reach the red-zone and punch in a two yard rushing touchdown. On the ensuing kick-off the Beavers fumbled the ball and the Lions would recover the ball 33 yards away from the end-zone. The Beaver defense was about to complete another stop by forcing the Lions into a 3rd and long situation, but Lion’s quarterback Greg Simpson tossed a bomb up to receiver Leonard Riston for a 33 yard touchdown. The next score would come from the Beavers by way of a field goal by freshman Jordan Watkins just before half, leaving the Beavers with 10 and the Lions with 17 going into the 3rd quarter.

After unsuccessful drives from both the Lions and Beavers, MSJ’s Simpson would throw up another bomb to a wide open Ronnell Colbert giving the Lions a two touchdown lead. On the next drive the Beavers would have the ball intercepted again. The very next play the Lions fumbled the ball and the Beavers would get the ball back and capitalize with Sheehan connecting again with Micah Roberson for a touchdown pass. The Beavers then held the Lions to a field goal and the next drive Sheehan hooked up with receiver Donovan Brown for a 40 yard touchdown pass with 14 minutes left in the 4th quarter. This would leave the score at 27-24 with the Beavers just 3 points down from the Lions.

With the game winding down, both defenses began tightening up with neither of them giving up scores for the next 13 minutes in the final quarter. With little time left, the Lions orchestrated a long drive ending with a 12 yard touchdown pass from Simpson to Riston. This would put away the Beavers with the Lions leading by two scores with only 1:27 left in the game.

“When you make big mistakes against a good team they capitalize and (Mount Saint Joseph) is a good team. They did what we’ve been doing to teams these past two weeks by causing turnovers and capitalizing on them.” Said Bluffton Head Coach Denny Dorrel after the loss. “We still have two games left to play our hearts out for these seniors.”

Unstoppable

The New England Patriots have been red hot of late. They have won five games straight after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs. Ever since that game, the Patriots have been blowing out their opponents. Their defense has elevated itself along with the offense.

Tom Brady has received a lot of criticism for not making the right decisions, but after that loss he has shown that he is still the best quarterback in the league. Brady put up impressive stats in October. He threw for 1289 passing yards, 14 Touchdowns and no interceptions. Many assumed that since Brady is old that his arm strength was weak and old age was catching up to him, but he has shown the critics that he still has it. He became the Offensive Player of the Month for October.

The Patriots have turned things around beating teams that have had tough defenses. The biggest win came when the Pats faced the Denver Broncos led by the future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning. The Broncos have been one of the best teams in the league since Manning signed with them. Manning and Brady have had a rivalry for many years. They have faced each other 16 times and Brady has beaten Manning 11 out of the 16.

On Sunday, the Pats managed to get the victory sealing their fifth straight win. They had a 43-21 win over the Broncos. Both the defense and offense for the Patriots stood out, because they had huge impact plays. The defense managed to pick Manning off twice, while the offense managed to see the zone 5 times with a couple of field goals.

The Patriots head into their bye week with these wins and hopefully they can keep it going to the end of the season.

The Crew’s chance at greatness

Greatness is only for those who truly believe in themselves. Anyone can rise to greatness. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, because one of the key components to greatness is the journey to becoming great and knowing that adversity will be there. It’s easy to give up and let things just unfold regardless of the outcome.

However, in order to truly obtain the title of greatness we must keep pushing pass our limits and win as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Rosa Parks, Messi, Ronaldo, Steve Young, Bill Russell, Phil Jackson and many others have done. Each of these individuals became great by going through adversity and they knew that it was not an easy task.

The Columbus Crew are starting to realize that they have the opportunity to be a great team, because they rank 3rd in the MLS Cup standings. They have elevated their game by playing outstanding and pushing themselves each game. Their record has somewhat reflected how outstanding they have been this season.

The Crew have won 14 games, edging out the New York Red Bulls for the 3rd spot. At 14 (wins) 10 (loses) 10 (draws), they seemed to be streaking and producing at the right time. It’s been awhile since I have seen them play this well. They did managed to capture the title in 2008, but that was a long time ago.

Momentum seems to be on their side and I hope that they take it into the playoffs and win the title. Best of luck to the Crew. I hope they allow their chance at greatness to drive them.