I Will Forever And Always Be A Pittsburgh Penguin Fan

I Will Forever And Always Be A Pittsburgh Penguin Fan

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I bleed black and gold. I remember the Steelers winning Superbowls, cheering on the Pirates during the summer, and most importantly, the Penguins winning Stanley Cups. I am not on the bandwagon. Watching Pittsburgh sports teams is simply the way of life.

Even though I am no longer living in the area, I still watch the sports religiously. Whether it is on my laptop or in the lounge in my dorm, I always find a way to watch the game. I love all the sports teams, but hockey will always be my favorite.

I've always admired the teamwork of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. I remember watching Marc Andre Fleury as goalie, and now cheering on for Matt Murray. Watching Guentzel, Letang, Hörnqvist, Määttä, Rust, Sheary, and all the whole gang score goal after goal. On game days, I proudly wear my Phil Kessel shirt, even if those here in Philadelphia might glare at me for it.

With that being said, being a Penguins fan means knowing the PA rivalry between the Flyers and Penguins, hating Ovechkin, and hating Nashville during last year's playoffs and their catfish. You also praise Mario Lemieux as if he is god himself.

Hockey season is hands down the best season too. As a kid, especially in high school, my parents and I would get pizza and wings before the game. It was like a little ritual. Homework didn't exist when the puck dropped as whole focus was on the game at hand. I can even hear my dad screaming at the TV as if he was head coach if the other team scored. Hockey has been one of the many things that has made my dad and I bond too. We both get excited like children on Christmas when it's game day.

I also remember WDVE's skits and segments about Pens hockey like "Evgeni Malkin's diary" or the spinoff of The Ting Ting's "That's Not My Name" as if it were Malkin singing it.

If we were in the car, we didn't listen to music when the game was on. We always found a radio station that broadcasted the game and that would be our entertainment. My heart always raced hearing the excitement of the announcer calling the plays of each player. Our car would shake as if we were in the arena ourselves each time the goal horn would go off.

There is also this weird rush of happiness whenever a fight breaks on the ice. Maybe that is something we all acquire by loving hockey, or maybe it's just because I know the strength of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Now, the Penguins, the best team around, are in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the third year in a row. They crushed the Philadelphia Flyers and are moving on to round two to defeat the Washington Capitals. And you know I'm screaming "#3elieve" from the top of my lungs.

Cover Image Credit: The Hockey Writers

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.

I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn't sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It's obvious your calling wasn't coaching and you weren't meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn't have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn't your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that's how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “It's not what you say, its how you say it."

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won't even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don't hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That's the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she's the reason I continued to play."

I don't blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn't working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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​A Division By Division Review Of April In The MLB

The 2019 MLB season is well underway, so it may be safer to make some predictions.


(All statistics referenced are from https://www.mlb.com/.)

Now that most teams have played at least 30 games, we are about 1/5 of the way through the 162 games for each team, which still leaves a huge amount of baseball to be played. However, a lot of predictions and inferences can be made with this large sample size of April, and while they may not hold up, they do have solid evidence behind them. So with that, let's review the pennant races after April.

NL East

The NL East is shaping out to be a competitive division this year, not because all the teams are exceptionally good, but because the teams are well-matched (excluding the MLB-worst Marlins). The Phillies got off to a hot start but cooled off for a bit and picked up steam again, winning seven of their last 10 to lead the division by 1.5 games over the Braves, who are also heating up. The Mets and Nationals are under .500 and slowing down.

NL Central

This division has been wildly competitive as of late, and going to be in my opinion the most fun to watch over the next few weeks. The red-hot Cubs have won their last 7 games, taking the top spot from the Cardinals, who have lost their last four. The Brewers and Pirates are also very close, 1.5 and 3 games back respectively, and on 3 and 2-game win streaks respectively.

NL West

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have revived a strong rivalry and have kindled a strong battle already, playing good baseball, with both teams winning 7 out of their last 10. Both clubs already have 20 wins and are only aiming for more. The Padres are also starting to show signs of improvement, but it is likely that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will be the ones battling for their division.

AL East

Surprisingly, Tampa Bay continues their new success atop the AL East, two games over the Yankees. No one expected the Rays to jump out and lead the division, but they have started to maintain their success and seem to be here for real. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are finally recovering after shockingly slow starts, 19-14 and 17-18 on the year respectively, good enough for 2nd and 3rd place in the division. If Tampa Bay can play well against the Red Sox and Yanks in their matchups, the Rays can distance themselves in the race.

AL Central

Another surprise, the Twins lead the AL Central by two games, over the Cleveland Indians, who many expected to lead the division this year. While the Indians are 18-14, their expected average factoring in Runs Scored and Runs Allowed should be 15-17, and every club in the AL Central has a negative run differential except the Indians, so it may be safe to say the Twins might be leading for a while.

AL West

In the AL West, the Astros have reclaimed the top spot and look to defend their title. The Mariners, whom no one expected to get to get off to the hot start that they enjoyed, have really fallen off and gotten themselves into a slump, dropping seven of their last 10 games to fall to a 19-17 record. The Astros will likely continue their success and stay atop the AL West

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