Tag Archives: football

Should the Washington Redskins keep their name?

(Dueling Pens Article)

Dueling Pens

By: Jonathan Kermah  By: Osiel Orellana 
Imagine a sports team using an African American as a mascot and it being named the “Alabama Negros.” If that happened today the country would riot. How is using Native Americans as a mascot any different?Native Americans have been through a lot as a race. Once America became a country, the government continuously took away their land.

The “big” argument for keeping the name is that only nine percent of Native Americans are offended, but isn’t that enough? It shouldn’t be fair for a white team owner to use a derogatory term as a team name; if 10 percent of a group of people is offended that should be enough given their rough history.

Mascots and team names are often named after animals or objects like the Chicago Bears or the San Diego Chargers. By naming a team for a race of people, especially a derogatory name like “Redskin,” teams are pretty much equating a race to something less than human.

Fans will probably buy gear for their favorite team, no matter what the name is. Money shouldn’t even be an issue in this debate.

In 2013 Forbes ranked the Redskins as the league’s third most valuable team at $1.7 billion; the team could definitely afford a name and mascot change. A moral issue should outweigh an economic one.

The derogatory term of “Redskin,” is a huge part of the issue, but it’s more than that. It’s not the word itself but the intent behind it – equating a  race to a symbol. The Redskins aren’t the only team that needs a name change. What about the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, the Kansas City Chiefs, and any other professional or nonprofessional team with a name relating back to Native Americans?

America is a country that strives to be free of racism; a simple team name change could bring the country one step closer to this goal.

 

Professional sports are a great form of entertainment. They’re competitive, exciting and inspire a sense of local pride. Citizens have their team names everywhere, on their clothes, cars and screensavers. One of the most controversial team names though, belongs to the NFL’s Washington Redskins.Their name is being criticized for its double meaning, which refers to Native Americans. Although the meaning can be seen as offensive to some, that is not its purpose. The name was established over 70 years ago.

For decades, local fans have been cheering for this team and it is only recently that people have begun to take notice of the name, which does not represent the franchise’s views or opinions on Native Americans. Never have the teams shown any type of discrimination or racism toward any race.

In a 2004 poll published by the National Annenberg Election Survey, 90 percent of Native Americans said the name did not offend them while nine percent said it did and one percent had no answer.

In a poll published by ESPN in 2014, 71 percent of Americans said the Redskins should keep their name. It is not that hard to see why this team should stay the same. If they changed their name they would also have to change everything in their franchise.

They would have to completely redesign all of their merchandise, change their uniforms, the stadium, and even the mascot. It would take months, if not years, to scrap 70 years of building a team name and tradition.

By changing their name, the Redskins would have to use a lot of money to pay for the changes, and they would be changing the name of a traditional football team.

 

 

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AHS Football Players take on College Football

(AHS captains at midfield for the coin toss/ Photo submitted)

(AHS captains at midfield for the coin toss/
Photo submitted)

By: Nick Desmarais

The Attleboro Blue Bombardiers had a less than ideal season on the football field this year, but they did have a couple of players who played well enough to earn the recognition of college coaches.

Senior captains Tim Christensen (75) and Brenden Massey (2) received attention from many colleges, and attended many recruiting days and overnight visits because both student athletes plan to play college football.

Christensen’s position for the Bombardiers this season was offensive tackle. “I love playing on the line because you can be as physical as possible and I love that,” said Christensen.

He started every single game and played a big role in both the pass and run game. During the season Christensen showed outstanding leadership ability as a captain, which did not go unnoticed. He was highly respected by all of his teammates as well as the coaches, who helped him to become noticed by college coaches.

He received “looks” from Springfield College, Nichols College, Plymouth State University, and Norwich University. He hopes to attend Springfield, a Division III school, where he will major in Sports Management and play football.

“Because of the opportunity I was given to continue playing football I want to accept it along with the challenge of balancing college school work as well as being a college athlete,” said Christensen.

He has been working out daily to try and prepare himself for the next level of football; he will also need to learn how to balance his college school work with football practice. This will be a lot harder than what he had to do in high school.

Massey, on the other hand, had another outstanding season as wide receiver for the Bombers. He had 764 yards for 10 touchdowns and was named a Sun Chronicle All-Star. Massey was known around the league for his ability to go up and catch balls over defenders down field and even when teams planned for it, he was unstoppable.

Massey received “looks” from many schools including Nichols College, Salve Regina University, Bentley University, and The University of Maine. He plans on attending Nichols College and majoring in business. Massey has been playing football and “couldn’t imagine not playing anymore.”

“I want to challenge myself, be able to compete at a level where not everyone makes the team. I want to be challenged and I want to compete, and that’s why I play the game,” said Massey.

OPINION: Michael Sam

NFL Football (Photo/ Nick Desmarais)

NFL Football
(Photo/ Nick Desmarais)

By: Nick Desmarais

Michael Sam is the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. After his draft, ESPN showed a video of Sam kissing his boyfriend. They then showed the crazy reaction at Nellie’s Sports Bar, which is a gay bar in Los Angeles.

Many players commented on Sam’s draft, as well as ESPN’s decision to show Sam and his boyfriend and then the gay bar.

Miami Dolphins Safety, Don Jones, tweeted “omg” speaking in regards to Sam being drafted. He then tweeted “horrible” after ESPN showed Sam kissing his boyfriend.

It’s bizarre to think that an NFL player would tweet something like this. It’s very immature of Jones. ESPN showed every player’s reaction after they were drafted and their happiness. They did not pick and choose based on race or sexual identity.

If almost every player drafted is shown kissing their wife or girlfriend, why is it any different for Sam? It isn’t. This situation as a whole shows that some people in the NFL are insecure and feel the need to say unnecessary comments.

Jones was disciplined by his team, which he deserved. He also apologized to Sam, which I think was a smart move by Jones. Sam is very brave to be who he is and do what he did. He should not be harassed but praised by other players and fans.

Brandon Clark: Valedictorian

 

Brandon Pic_Edited

Brandon Clark smiling after a school event (Photo/Dave Clark)

By: Rose McDermott

The valedictorian for AHS was announced on May 15 during Awards Night. Brandon Clark with a GPA of 102.29 was the top student in the class of 2014.  He explains how he achieved this goal and how he feels about it.

Question: How did you feel when your name was called at Awards Night?

Answer: I was speechless. I finally saw everything I had worked at culminate in that one moment. Of course, I didn’t work to obtain that award, but it did make me feel like my work was appreciated.

Q: What kind of sacrifices have you made to achieve this goal?

 A:  I have sacrificed countless hours studying and finishing the loads of work that my class schedule required while my friends were texting me to hang out. I also sacrificed quite a bit of pride, realizing that sometimes I can’t do everything that I want and still get work done. I definitely learned to prioritize.

Q: How do you handle the stress of schoolwork?

 A: I always tried to focus on the good side of school work, the sense of liberation I feel from learning new and interesting topics. As for the grades that follow, I just tried to trust that as long as I utilize my passion, the grades will take care if themselves, and I could be satisfied with the result. Also, sports and music were great outlets to let off steam and get away from it all for some precious moments.

 Q: What is your routine to balance all your extra-curricular activities?

A: Planning, planning, and more planning. I always have to be prepared to know which hours I have available for school work amongst my extracurriculars. I also have to make sure enough down time is available to ensure I don’t go crazy. Above all, however, the true source of success with handling everything is having motivation and the mental toughness to stick with that motivation.

Q: What are your extra-curricular activities?

 A: I play varsity football, baseball, and basketball. I also am a student advisory council representative for the school committee and a representative for Congressman Kennedy’s youth advisory board. Finally, I played the drums for my church youth band and tutored night school students.

Q: Was this a goal you had in mind when you began high school?

 A: My goal was simple in theory, yet complex in practice: to just find what I love to do and do the best that I can with those things.

Q: Do you feel that there is a certain way students can go to achieve this goal?

A:  I think that each student has a certain skill set and assortment of passions within them. The only trick is to go out and search for them. The key is passion. I know I say that a lot, but cliches are only cliches because they are so true.

 Q: How did your family help you achieve this title?

A: My family actually didn’t want me to go to AHS. I convinced them to let me go here instead of a private school because I wanted to experience a small piece of the real world before going to college. They trusted my judgement, and they have supported me with all of my further decisions. My parents were honestly the ones who instilled in me the confidence that I have in myself. They showed me that I’m important, that I matter in this world, and I will always remember that.

Q: Do you see yourself as a role model?

 A: I honestly never tried to be a role model. I only see myself as a person who tries hard at what he loves and truly cares about the people around him. I don’t try to force myself on others, but if people learn something and grow from how I do things, then that makes me happier than any Valedictorian award I could receive.

Q: Who is your role model?

A:  My role models are definitely my parents, surprise surprise. They don’t just teach me the value of hard work and determination. They live it out right in front of me. They have sacrificed so much to help me through my journey. Above all, their work inspires me to work for others instead of myself.

 Q: Do you plan to be the top in your college?

A:  Numbers are just numbers. I plan to attack college with the same focus and determination that has made me who I am. College isn’t the goal. College is a mere medium through which someone achieves their dreams.

 Q: Was there a point where you felt that you wouldn’t be able to make the goal?

A:  Yes, every day. That is the main reason why my focus deviated from the goal of Val and landed on my love for learning. As I said before, any superficial recognition is all for naught if the skills you garner are not used to benefit those around you.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

 A: I hope to see myself either in a humanitarian organization or my own company, working to help mitigate world hunger with new scientific ideas. I have accumulated a couple ideas that I want to study further in college.

Q: What is your career goal?

A: My goal is simple. I want to leave my mark in the niche planned out for me.

Attleboro High School Football

New Tozier-Cassidy Field turf. (Photo/Cameron Merritt)

New Tozier-Cassidy Field turf. (Photo/Cameron Merritt)

By: Nick Desmarais

The AHS football team finished with a record of 9-2, making it all the way to the South Sectional Finals before suffering a loss to Xaverian Brothers. The team had a great comeback and beat North Attleboro on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2008. This was also the second time that Attleboro has played, and the first time they’ve beaten, their arch rival twice in one season.

Upcoming senior captain Brendan Massey who had a stellar junior year scoring eight touchdowns and totaling 887 yards has a different opinion. “We have replacements and I believe the young guys are capable of filling in those missing positions. I don’t think it will be a problem,” said Massey.

Massey and Tim Christensen, two of the 2014-2015 season senior captains, have set goals for themselves and the team for the upcoming football season.

“An individual goal that I have for myself is to score 10 touchdowns and make a name for myself. For our team we’re going to go all the way, baby, and make a statement,” said Massey.

“A few individual goals that I have are to start both ways of the ball (offense and defense) and to get looked at by college teams and hopefully play for one.  As a team I want to win the Hockomock League and the Division 1 Super Bowl,” said Christensen.

Ross Killion, an upcoming senior quarterback, said,” I do feel a little pressure as the quarterback but it will not have any effect on how I will play.”  He added, “During the offseason we must find our weaknesses, think of a resolution, and then use it to improve.”

Coach Michael Strachan of the Bombardiers is very big on senior team leadership.  Last year’s team captain, David Duquette, has advice for next year’s team, “Don’t take any day for granted because you’ll never get those days back and it will be over before you know it.” He added, “Listen to the coaches and do what you are supposed to do and you will be fine.”

The Bombardiers have already started pre season workouts for this upcoming season. They plan to start early and finish the season strong. Captain’s practice will begin once school ends.

SCHEDULE:           

9/13 Attleboro vs. @ Bishop Feehan: W, 35-3

9/20 Attleboro vs. Dartmouth: W, 41-12

9/27 Attleboro vs. Franklin: W, 37-20

10/4 Attleboro vs. Mansfield: L, 49-42

10/11 Attleboro vs. North Attleborough: W, 14-0

10/18 Attleboro vs. @ Taunton: W, 45-0

10/25 Attleboro vs. @ King Phillip: W, 19-12

11/1 Attleboro vs. New Bedford: W, 42-7

11/8 Attleboro vs. Bridgewater Raynham: W, 40-14

11/16 Attleboro vs. @ Xaverian: L, 35-28

11/28 Attleboro vs. @ North Attleborough: W, 34-19

SCOREBOARD: It’s Super Bowl Time

By: Cameron MerrittCameron Merritt senior pic

After another NFL season, it’s that time of year again. Super Bowl Sunday, the quintessential American sports holiday, a festival of football, food, and showmanship, is only two days away. The eyes of millions of Americans will be focused on MetLife Stadium in New York (well, actually New Jersey) as the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos square off for a chance to call themselves the champion of Super Bowl XLVIII.

Across this nation (and even the world), people are jumping on bandwagons, rooting against a rival, or, for a lucky few, awaiting the chance to see their favorite team lift the Vince Lombardi trophy and join in the celebration that ensues. It’s a feeling that many in New England have become quite familiar with these past few years, however, one which will not occur this time as the New England Patriots fell one game short of another chance at glory. Looks like we’ll have to settle for just one championship in Boston this year…

As for the game itself, the clash presents several opportunities for its participants. For Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, a win would help solidify his stellar career in an area which has often been his weak point; playoff success. This is the 37 year old’s third trip to the big game, and he currently holds a 1-1 record in his previous two appearances. After breaking even on his playoff record at 11-11 following his team’s 26-16 win over the Patriots and longtime rival Tom Brady, Manning seems as strong as ever and must be hungry to prove his doubters wrong with a victory Sunday.

As for the Seahawks, it’s a chance for the trash-talking genius (he graduated Stanford with a 3.9 GPA) cornerback Richard Sherman to back up all he’s said and prove he really is the best corner in all of football (which he probably is). For the Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, it’s his chance to complete his underdog story. A former Minor Leaguer (actually he’s on the Texas Rangers 40 Man Roster), Wilson was underrated in the 2012 NFL Draft compared to his counterparts, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, but has so far had more playoff success than either of them combined. A Super Bowl ring can well be imagined to further sweeten all he’s accomplished so far and set a precedent for his legacy going forward.

If waiting for a prediction, I’m here to say I don’t have one for the game. The Seahawks are carrying a lot of momentum, but remember how I doubted the Broncos two weeks ago? Yeah, they proved me wrong, and in a game where they took the lead early and never relinquished it, and pretty emphatically as well. It’s a toss-up for me; I have no stakes either way. Hopefully it’s an enjoyable one (and that the lights don’t go out again).

Scoreboard is the Eagle’s Eye’s column for Fridays, written by head editor Cameron Merritt. The senior, who came up with the idea for this website, is AHS’s man at Hockomock Sports. He discusses the latest in sports around Boston and the world. Warning: he treats soccer like a serious professional sport.

Q&A with Teen Author Andrew Goldstein

Goldstein picture

Andrew Goldstein, author of The Football Volumes and Growing Up Green. (Courtesy of Andrew Goldstein)

By: Cameron Merritt

At only 17 years old, Cranbury, NJ native Andrew Goldstein has done what many other aspiring writers his age (and older) can only dream of. The Princeton High School senior already has published a book, 2013’s The Football Volumes, which he wrote while balancing classes and the daily life of a high schooler. He even has a second one on the way.

A former SI Kids Kid Reporter, the young sports journalist already has a long list of credentials, one which few others at this stage can boast. He gave an interview to the Eagle’s Eye to talk about the writing and publishing process, how’s he’s come to where he is, and his best advice for other aspiring young authors.  

QUESTION: In The Football Volumes, you said that it was your grandparents who first got you into football. Who or what first got you into writing, and more specifically, sports writing?

ANSWER: I started by reading [sportswriter] Rick Reilly in fourth and fifth grade, gradually transitioning to Bill Simmons as I got older. They were really the first ones who showed me how much fun writing could be; that it didn’t have to be boring. So I tried writing like they did, liked it, and eventually struck out on my own with the book.

Q: Before you began writing The Football Volumes, had you ever thought of writing a book before? If so, how did what you thought compare with the reality of it?

A: The Football Volumes was the first time I even thought about writing a book. It was about as difficult as I expected to be, although I think that I overestimated how well the concept of the first book would hold up.

Q: What are some of the most difficult things about writing a book while in high school? What are some of the most rewarding?

A: Balancing the workload was definitely the most difficult. If I didn’t feel like writing that day, too bad, I made myself do it. If I just finished my homework at 10 at night and wanted to go to sleep, the book still needed to be done. And since no teacher assigned me to write this book, the prospect of just saying “to hell with this thing” and quitting was constantly an option. Warding that off month after month was definitely challenging.

As for the rewards, this book reassured me that I was on the right career path. I wouldn’t put this much time and effort into something that I didn’t love, and I re-discovered my love for football through writing this book. It also taught me how to manage big projects effectively by breaking them up into smaller goals.

Q: How did you first discover your publisher, KidPub? How helpful have they been in the often difficult publishing process?

A: I just did a web search for publishers, and KidPub came up as a publisher that would take what I had and publish it quickly. I think I really undervalued the importance of choosing a good publisher; I just wanted the thing out as quickly as possible.

They were not very helpful at all in the publishing process. The guy didn’t return my emails for weeks on end, promised marketing support that he never delivered on, and generally left me out of the loop in the process. It was only after I threatened to go to another publisher that he responded to my emails. However, it was a good learning experience. I learned that being meek doesn’t get you anywhere. It taught me that sometimes, if I really wanted something, I would have to make a little bit of noise for it.

Q: How far through the writing process did they finally answer you back and agree to publish?

A: They agreed to publish from the beginning, but they don’t reject anybody. For a fixed price, they will publish anything.

Q: Does having a publishing deal early on make writing easier or put more pressure on you as a writer?

A: It makes writing easier. I don’t like to worry about anything during the creative process other than the creative process. Having a plan in place takes an extraordinary amount of pressure off.

Q: How did you feel the first time you saw a copy of The Football Volumes in print?

A: It was unbelievable. I looked at it for over a minute; just sat on the chair and stared at the cover. It was more shock than anything else. I knew that I wrote it, obviously, but actually seeing it… you never really get over that feeling. Maybe I will someday, but every time I see it I still feel like I did the first time I saw it. My brain just shuts off for a split second.

Q: Now you’ve been working on a second book. Could you tell us a little about that?

A: I actually finished writing the second book; it’s off at the publisher’s and due out sometime in Quarter 2 of 2014. The second book is called Growing Up Green; Living, Dying, and Dying Again as a Fan of the New York Jets. It’s about my personal journey as a Jets fan from age five to where I am now. Through telling my own story, I try to explain the psychology and emotions behind being a sports fan. It’s autobiographical, but I think there’s a part of every sports fan in this book. Plus, I think the concept will hold up a heck of a lot better this time than it did the last time.

I’d also like to mention how much of a pleasure my new publisher, AuthorHouse, has been to work with so far. They’ve been accommodating, extremely friendly, quick to respond to any of my questions, and generally pleasant to work with. Way better than my previous experience.

Q: How soon after finishing The Football Volumes did you start the process of writing Growing Up Green?

A: About three months after. I truly wasn’t planning on writing another one, but the idea just kind of hit me when I was trying to fall asleep at SBC [Sports Broadcasting Camp]. After doing some pre-writing at three in the morning, I slept and forgot about it for a few days. But after that, I took another look at the premise and my life before deciding to do it. The decision essentially boiled down to “I have a good idea that I’m at the right place in my life to write about, and it’s the last year where I can for sure carve out enough free time to do something like this.” When I put it to myself that way, saying “Screw it, I’m doing this” became the only real option.

Q: How do the styles of The Football Volumes and Growing Up Green compare?

A: The Football Volumes was easier to write, just because it was a more familiar style. Watch something on TV, write about it, make a couple of snarky jokes, and I had an entry for the book. Growing Up Green, I think, is a more intelligent piece of writing, just because of what was required to write it. I had to look inwardly instead of outwardly, really challenge myself to come up with interesting things to say about memories which I hadn’t accessed for a long time.  There’s still humor and sarcasm and blatant bias and all the stuff that was in Football Volumes, but it’s a little bit more covert and done in a smarter way, or at least I’d like to think so. Plus, I already had one book under my belt when I started writing Growing Up Green, so I think it’s going to be a bit more polished purely by virtue of experience. No different than playing a sport or learning an instrument in that respect.

Q: What would you recommend more casual fans do if they wanted to expand their football knowledge?

A: I think that one of the places where I went wrong in The Football Volumes is that I made it very inaccessible to casual fans and non-fans. I think that definitely turned some people off. Growing Up Green will be, without a doubt, accessible even to non-fans because, while the topic is football, the themes of hope, despair, blind devotion, and everything else that goes along with being a fan are universals. I’ve learned a lot from The Football Volumes‘ failure to reach non-fans, and I’ve used what I learned to make Growing Up Green a more accessible book.

Q: What are some of the most important lessons you took from writing your first book that you applied to your second?

A: Some of the most important lessons include:

  • Don’t assume everybody has baseline knowledge of the subject matter.
  • Never be afraid to take risks like using humor, rhetorical questions, etc. Even something as simple as italics differentiates your writing from the next guy’s.
  • Your writing is never nearly as bad as you think it is, but it’s never as good either.
  • All of the best writing in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have a concept that’s going to be just as engaging after a year as it was on release. The writing style makes the reader stay, but the concept gets them interested.
  • Prioritize having a cordial relationship with your publisher and market aggressively. Don’t just assume people are going to buy your book just because you wrote one.
  • There are millions, if not billions of other books out there. You have to be able to say, in a few sentences and/or under twenty seconds, why your book is different from all the others.

Q: You’ve been attending Play by Play Sports Broadcasting Camps since 2007, and this summer will be your final year. How have your experiences there helped you grow and develop as a sports journalist and what kind of affect have they had on you overall?

A: I don’t even know where to start on this one. Like I’ve always said, SBC has been the best week of my year for what will soon be nine years. I remember that at age nine, when everybody else wanted to be Superman or the president or part of N’SYNC, I wanted to be a sportscaster. That was just such a weird thing to carry around with you because nobody else wanted to do that. SBC showed me that there are people who knew exactly who Mel Allen was, people who loved sports as much as I did, people who got it. I’ve made some of the best friends I’m ever going to make at that place and I’ve had so much fun there that it’s unbelievable. Just talking into the microphone attached to the VCRs or computers playing SportsCenter Top 10 re-runs and competing in the PTI tournament just reaffirmed the notion that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I’m going to miss the hell out of that place after this summer, and hopefully I can come back one day and be a speaker.

Q: What’s kept you coming back to the Bay State, and the New Jersey camp all these years?

A: The thing that’s really kept me coming back- not just to Boston, but to New Jersey as well- has been the people. When you find a person or a group of people who truly get you, you know it instantly. That describes most of the people at SBC. They still get excited when Jeremy [Treatman, the camp’s founder] shows the One Shining Moment Kobe [Bryant] video, just like I do after all these years. They’re the only people I know for whom sports carries the same amount of disproportionate importance in life as they do for me. That’s what keeps me coming back every year: the people, the broadcasting, and the memories.

Q: Finally, what advice what you give to any other young prospective authors out there?

A: Go for it. Go. For. It. Believe in yourself, never stop improving, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. When I published The Football Volumes, I thought it was the best thing I could possibly write. Now, I read it and I think, “Wait a second, was this really the best I could do? This is it?” And I’ll probably feel that way about this upcoming book before long. I mention this because so many people are discouraged from writing because of self-doubt. I’ve found that not only will you end up being overly critical of what you wrote, but it’s that criticism that pushes you to go for it even more, to try new things and write in different ways. Really, I’d advise them to just write something, make it the best it can be, don’t be someone you’re not, and keep taking chances.

Goldstein’s Growing Up Green is set to be released in the spring and will be available online at bookstore.authorhouse.com for a price yet to be determined and The Football Volumes can be purchased for $14.95 at KidPub’s website or on Amazon.