18 Things That Go Through Every Hockey Fan's Head While Watching The Stanley Cup Playoffs

18 Things That Go Through Every Hockey Fan's Head While Watching The Stanley Cup Playoffs

It's the most wonderful time of the year.
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To some people, spring means warmer weather, outdoor activities, and the start of baseball season. To others, it means it's time for playoff hockey. We are in the midst of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and are blessed with exciting games almost every night. Whether or not your team made the playoff cut, there's plenty of excitement for every hockey fan. No matter what team you're cheering for this year, there are certain thoughts that are bound to go through your head while watching a game.

1. Go [insert team name]!

No matter which team you are rooting for, you better be going all out cheering for them.

2. This is the only time I will ever root for [insert team name]

For the sake of your bracket, or the sake of your team's top rival losing, there is always that one team that you hate to but have to root for in the playoffs.

3. That really screwed up my bracket

Unfortunately, there's always going to be that one game (or series) that screws up your bracket. (Unless you're practicing witchcraft or something.)

4. I don't even care about this game, I'm just in it for the fights (and the great hockey)

Playoff hockey fights just seem to be better than other hockey fights. I don't know why, but there's probably some scientific reason behind it.

5. FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

See #4.

6. That's got to hurt

From Henrik Lundqvist getting a stick to the eye to Scott Laughton getting carted off in a stretcher, there have been plenty of painful situations in which we were all hoping for the best.

7. How did that happen?

Sometimes, there is no good explanation for a play. It's better not to question it.

8. How did that goal get in?

There are times when five players are in front of the net and the puck still manages to find the back of the net. It's just one of the many things that makes this game great.

9. How did you miss that?

Sometimes, we think we would be better at making that wide-open shot that Player X missed (even if we have never held a hockey stick).

10. Wait, I just missed that!

Don't blink, or you might miss something crazy.

11. That was an amazing stop

The goalies get paid the big bucks for a reason!

12. That was an amazing goal

There's a reason these players also get paid the big bucks.

13. Wow, these fans are so classy

I'm not going to mention any names, but did you see game three of the Capitals vs. Flyers series?

14. That sucks for them

From unfortunate injuries and unlucky misses, there's always something that makes you say "sucks to suck" to the other team.

15. I hate power plays

They're two minutes of praying that the defense does its job (and the ensuing disappointment when the other team manages to score).

16. I love power plays

They're two minutes of hoping the offense can take advantage of the 5-on-4 and score.

17. Is a 4-0 sweep too much to ask for?

Apparently, the answer to that is yes (at least in the first round).

18. This is stressful

I'm fairly certain that I get more stressed out watching than the players do playing.

19. When is the next game?

As soon as one game ends, it's on to the next. Soon, playoffs will be over and there will be one team left as the Stanley Cup Champion. So get out there, hockey fans, and have some fun cheering your team to victory!


Cover Image Credit: Washington Capitals

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7 Things That Annoy Volleyball Players More Than Anything

How to get under a volleyball player's skin in two seconds.
Sam
Sam
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I'm not sure why but volleyball players are a very particular group of people — we like what we like and we HATE what we don't, especially when it is volleyball-related. If you're a volleyball player, I'm sure you can relate to this list and if you're not a volleyball player, now you know exactly how you will be able to get under our skin.

1. Girls who wear spandex in public

Don’t get me wrong, we wear spandex for a living. We understand WHY people wear them to workout. But wearing them to the dining hall, class or anywhere that isn’t the gym… please don’t. Put on some shorts or leggings — PLEASE.

2. The “I’ll beat you in volleyball” line

For some odd reason when someone who likes you finds out that you play volleyball, they say this. I’m not sure why, but its really annoying that people think they’re better than you (a collegiate athlete) at the sport you’ve been playing your whole life.

3. When guys mention that they only come to your games because you wear spandex

You’re right, why would any appreciate our athletic ability when you can simply appreciate our butts.

4. Freshman who don’t think they have to do their Freshman duties

PSA: Every single school has freshman duties; YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY FRESHMAN WHO HAVE TO DO THEM. Everyone has done them when they were a freshman. Stop complaining, do your duties, and play volleyball because after your freshman season you’ll never have to do it again.

5. When people try to tell you that volleyball isn’t hard

Why don’t you jump for three hours straight and throw your body on the ground hundreds of times and tell me how easy it is.

6. The word "spike"

I honestly feel bad about hating this so much but nothing nothing NOTHING annoys us more than when someone uses the work "spike". For some reason this word went out of style a longgggg time ago and nobody got the memo except the people in the volleyball world. Instead of telling your friend that they had a good spike, tell them that they had a great "hit." HIT = SPIKE.

7. Balls that aren't perfectly blown up

Volleyball players are hands down the most high maintenance group of people when it comes to our sport. I will go through an entire ball cart to find the best ball possible... if the ball is flat, no matter what contact you make it is going to be bad. If the ball is too hard, no matter what contact you make it is going to be bad.

Cover Image Credit: Sam
Sam
Sam

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Revisiting Sammy Wanjiru: The Man Who Changed The marathon

As most American runners have Steve Prefontaine as their idol, I have Sammy Wanjiru.

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Kenyan Sammy Wanjiru's 2010 Chicago Marathon victory was, in his coach's words, "The greatest marathon race I have ever seen, and the biggest surprise. It was a total shock."

When I think of my favorite race to watch of all time, it's not what most people expect: it's not an Olympic race or any featuring an American runner. No, it is Sammy Wanjiru's unexpected triumph at the 2010 Chicago Marathon. Sammy Wanjiru is, to this day, is my role model as a runner for a litany of reasons, including this race. But as most Americans have Steve Prefontaine as their idol, I have Sammy Wanjiru.

Near the end of the race, Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede and Sammy Wanjiru engaged in one of the most fascinating duels in marathon history. With both the runners near the front of the race near the end, both surged to the front and took turns taking the lead. Kebede would surge and open a gap on Wanjiru several times over the last mile, but Wanjiru would reel him in gradually, on his own terms. With less than a half mile to go, Wanjiru kicked, breaking Kebede and defeating him by 19 seconds.

On paper, it may have looked like Wanjiru was the heavy favorite to win the race. He held the half marathon world record at the time of 58:33, and two years before, in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, set the Olympic record in the marathon by almost three minutes.

The 2010 Chicago Marathon would be Sammy Wanjiru's last race: seven months later, Wanjiru died after falling off the balcony of his home in Nyahururu, Kenya. Many speculate into how Wanjiru's actually went down - while Eric Kiraithe, the Kenyan national police spokesman, would call it a suicide, Jasper Ombati, the local police chief, said it was probably an accident. But this isn't an article about how he died - there have been plenty on that. Nor is this an article about what might have been. Dan Silkstone, a sports writer for The Sydney Morning Herald projected Wanjiru to be the first man to run a marathon under two hours, in 2009. But who knows what would have happened? This is an article respecting how Wanjiru ran, and how he lived.

I'm fascinated by Sammy Wanjiru as a runner because of how unconventionally he ran and trained. Like Yuki Kawauchi, the famous Japanese marathoner who has run 79 sub 2:20 marathons, Wanjiru excelled when race conditions were subpar - he won both his races in Beijing and Chicago in the blistering heat, both around 30 degrees Celsius. Wanjiru would revolutionize the marathon through his unconventionally courageous front-running. He was never afraid to take the race out hard - evidenced by running the first 5k of the Beijing Olympic marathon in 14:52, nor was he ever afraid to make an aggressive move - nearly world record pace at the time. Wanjiru looked like he was beaten several times in Chicago, only to come back to life and destroy Kebede at the very end. Wanjiru did not "negative split" races (conserving energy during the first half and running the second half faster), he would often run the first half near world record pace to break his competition.

Steve Moneghetti, a former Australian marathoner, called the Wanjiru's triumph at the 2008 Olympic marathon "the greatest marathon ever run."


Xan Rice of The New Yorker wrote a fascinating article about Wanjiru's life, with somewhat of a dehumanizing element of depicting Sammy as a tragic hero. The caption of Wanjiru's painting in the article is "an Olympic marathon champion's tragic weakness," referencing his infamous drinking problem. But as reductionist as depicting Wanjiru as a Greek is, the article is a brilliant illustration of Sammy's career as a runner and the unconventional route he took to become an Olympic champion.

At 10, Wanjiru dropped out of school to support his family. However, he joined a training camp in Nyahururu full-time. Although young to be in the camp, Wanjiru excelled at local track meets and caught the eye of Shunichi Kobayashi, a sixty-year-old Japanese running scout. Through Kobayashi's connection, Wanjiru went to Japan on a scholarship to a Japanese high school. "Wanjiru, then fifteen did not know where Japan was. He had never traveled by plane. English was his third language, after Kikuyu and Swahili, and he spoke it poorly."

Despite those adverse circumstances, Wanjiru went to Japan regardless with the urging of his mother. He told his coach on the very first day that he would win an Olympic medal, and later led his school team to two national titles. In 2004, the Toyota Kyushu corporate team signed him to a large salary. In the same race that Kenenisa Bekele broke the 10000-meter world record in Brussels, Sammy Wanjiru set a new world junior record of 26:41. Two weeks later, Wanjiru broke the world half marathon world record with a time of 58:53. Later that year, he shattered his own record with a time of 58:33.

But after his victory in Beijing, Wanjiru returned to Nyahururu and returned home, to his friends and family. Altruistic with his newfound fame and wealth, he helped his relatives, supported orphanages and charities, and picked up tabs at bars and restaurants. He used his money to support other athletes, including his childhood friend, Daniel Gatheru. "A true friend who is more than a brother, that was Sammy."

Returning home, Wanjiru dealt with many familial stress with his wife, Njeri, especially after taking a second wife against her wishes in 2009. That year, he started drinking excessively. "The idea that the world's best marathoner - whose competitors were exploiting the latest in sports science and counting every calorie - could be drinking to this degree would strike most top coaches as crazy. But, at first, Wanjiru got away with it," said Rice. But that year, he set a course record in the London Marathon with a time of 2:05:10. He won the Chicago Marathon with the fastest time ever in a U.S. marathon. He did that while intentionally falling back to support and encourage his friend, Isaac Macharia, and then unleashing a 600-meter sprint.

Wanjiru was not the first elite and dominating Kenyan athlete to drink excessively and run, Henry Rono, in 1978, broke four world records in 81 days: the 10,000 meters, 5000 meters, 3000-meter steeplechase, and the 3000 meters. While his family and close friends urged Wanjiru to get help about his drinking. Often, after winning marathons and big races, fans and athletes would pack the Nairobi airport to support him. But after he dropped out of the 2010 London Marathon due to a knee injury, only his friend, Isaac Macharia, would welcome him back.

Later that year, Wanjiru started training for the Chicago Marathon, but his coach thought he was in such bad shape that he considered withdrawing him from the race. But he ran, was beaten several times, and won regardless, despite being in relatively horrible shape. After his win, however, that coach, Claudio Berardelli, said that "Sammy showed that he was not just an athlete with an incredible physiology. He was, first of all, a fighter."

When Wanjiru died, he had been drinking.Berardelli would compare Wanjiru to Steve Prefontaine, the icon of American distance running who famously said: "to give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Prefontaine died in a car accident after returning from a post-race party, and the police released a statement saying his BAC was .16, twice as high as the legal limit.

Again, while most of my running peers have Steve Prefontaine, I have Sammy Wanjiru, and this is just an attempt to raise recognition to the runner and the man. His friend, Isaac Macharia, puts his legacy best: "When Sammy won in Beijing, he showed everybody that it is just not about the course or the weather...He changed the marathon completely. He would not give up. He feared nobody."

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