A Letter To Boston For Liking A Hockey Team More Than the Bruins

A Letter To Boston For Liking A Hockey Team More Than the Bruins

Sorry Boston, but the Bruins are NOT my favorite hockey team.
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Dear Boston,

I am 100% not sorry for liking a hockey team more than the Bruins. I do NOT dislike the Bruins, they just so happen to take a backseat to my favorite hockey team, the St. Louis Blues. Also, I am not from St. Louis, Missouri, or anywhere in the midwest; I have lived in Massachusetts all of my life. Living near Boston, like many other sports cities, comes with an expectation that your favorite team in each sport would be one from your home state, which is a rule that I may have broken (whoops).My personal hierarchy of hockey teams does not sit well with people from around here, as they reject the simple thought of liking another team more than their beloved Bruins. I understand completely where they are coming from, because I am a huge fan of the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics; it just so happens that the Bruins fall in the #2 slot in terms of hockey teams for me.

The first hockey game I had ever watched was in 2005 at a friend's house. The game was between the St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks, who were one of the best teams of the whole decade and would go on to win the Stanley Cup the following year. The one important thing I took away from this game is that the Blues absolutely sucked. They ended with one of the worst records that year (21-46) and, truthfully, I saw their team as the laughing stocks of the league, which they were that year. I started rooting for them not just because they were the first team I had ever watched, but also kind of as a joke because they were the worst team. It was funny for me to root for them because I expected a loss a majority of the time.

Eventually, I would come to find that I would begin to get genuinely excited whenever they won and very angry whenever they lost, even more so than the Bruins, who I was rooting for solely due to the fact that I am from Massachusetts. This is when they started to take over the role as my favorite team, and I started to pay very close attention to their team. In 2011, their franchise improved drastically from the year preceding it. They finished at the top of their division for the first time in a while, and I got very excited. Sure, they ended up losing in the 2nd round of the playoffs, but to me, that season was a success. Ever since then, it has been much of the same. The Blues have finished in the top 3 in their division and have qualified for the playoffs in each of the past 5 seasons. In each of those seasons, though, they have had a very early exit in the playoffs. 2015 was the closest they have come to making the finals in a very long time after they lost to the San Jose Sharks in 6 games, 4-2. The Blues have been juggernauts in the regular season, but have always found ways to lose in the playoffs. Understandably, the playoffs can be hard when you have had to go up against dynasties such as the Chicago Blackhawks every year. In fact, this has been the trend all throughout the history of the St. Louis Blues franchise. They have made the finals only 3 times and have lost all three of those. I am hoping that, especially with the talent they have on the team now and the trajectory their franchise is going, I will see a Stanley Cup go home to St. Louis in the next few years.

So, Bruins fans, I do not apologize for loving the Blues as much as you all love the Bruins. I also do not apologize for going to a Bruins vs. Blues game in my Vladamir Taresenko jersey and cheering after every St. Louis goal. I like the Blues because they are really the first team I have cared to pay much attention to in hockey, and they are the team that got me interested in the sport as a whole. And let's be honest, nobody here hates the blues; you hate me for liking a team that isn't the hometown favorite. What I can say to get you all on my side though, is that at least I don't like the Canadiens, because then we would have a real problem on our hands.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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No, Helicopter High Schools, Not Every Cheerleader Should Make The Team

We can't keep babying this generation.
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If you haven't heard about it already, a high school in New Jersey made a rule that states every girl that tries out for the high school cheerleading squad has to make the team. If this doesn't scream spoiled with participation trophy at the end of it, then I don't know what does.

This new regulation was put in place after a mother of a girl that didn't make the cheerleading squad complained to the school.

Many young women who put in the hard work were clearly upset about this order. What they had to say made complete sense, but it didn't make a difference to the mother that so badly wanted her daughter to be a cheerleader.

One of the fellow cheerleaders said, "I did not put in 18 months of work to lead up to this moment just to be told that it didn't matter anymore." Another expressed, "It is unfair to me and every cheerleader who earned their spots to change the rules after tryouts are over." Although these statements are clear enough, one young woman was especially upset. As well as the other cheerleaders, she went up in front of the school board in tears and said "I've tried my hardest-- and everything's going away because of one child who did not make the team and their parent complained. So now all my hard work has been thrown out the window."

Cheerleading on top of other sports takes demanding hours not only physically but mentally and academically. In order to be a top athlete on any team, you must do what is expected of you and more. These young women have more than likely spent most of their childhood and the beginning of their adulthood training for this sport, why would someone want to take that feeling of success away from them? I'll tell you why.

Nowadays, if someone isn't treated equally (even if they don't have the talent, technique, or expertise) the world and media breaks down into shambles and turns into a soup sandwich. Teams, corporations, and groups have been destroyed in recent years because someone who did not get their way wants to complain, although they aren't qualified.

For any other sport, there are only so many spots for people to play on the team. If too many kids are allotted a spot on the team, then some children will have to sit the bench. This alone causes crisis within the team because players get upset when they aren't getting playing time and this all falls back on the coach.

Playing sports builds character, dedication, integrity and other great traits. The reason these characteristics are obtained is due to the time that young athletes put in. If they don't have to make sacrifices and devote their time then these features will never be developed. Aside from winning and the feeling of success and triumphant teamwork, establishing these qualities and reaching for excellence is the reason why children choose to play sports.

Athletes work hard to earn spots, be mentioned in the newspaper, win awards, and get recognition for all of the outstanding things that they do. These things shouldn't be given to people that don't work for them.

Participation trophies shouldn't be handed out like candy, parents need to stop babying their kids, and mom's and dad's need to prepare their children for the real world. If we let this ongoing trend keep multiplying within households before you know it everyone is going to feel like they are entitled to everything... as if they don't act that way already.

Cover Image Credit: Macey Mullins

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Why Alabama Is No 'Sweet Home' To Professional Sports Teams

Will the NFL, MLB, NHL, etc. ever contemplate branching out into the deep south of Alabama to expand their programs?
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Going to the top college football school in the country, having pro teams within the state of Alabama wouldn't normally be a worry on most people's radar. Some sports fanatics, on the other hand, myself included, have always questioned why Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama, has never even been considered in receiving major league sports teams.

Therefore, why has it never been proposed? Will the NFL, MLB, NHL, etc. ever contemplate branching out into the deep south of Alabama to expand their programs?

First thing’s first, are these major league teams actually necessary? With Alabama and Auburn being two of the top-ranked football schools consistently, locals have always been content with making the hike to Tuscaloosa or Auburn to watch a football game and let the rivalry continue to fester between the two SEC schools. Meeting Alabama fans or people who have lived here their whole lives, don’t really mind the issue and only really watch the NFL when they want to see the boys they have been watching over the years get drafted and see their progress.

On the contrary, when I wanted to go watch an NFL game this year, the closest games to Tuscaloosa are either in Atlanta to see the Falcons, which is 3 hours, or New Orleans to see the Saints, 4.5 hours. Needless to say, I’m sure it’s a pain for those football junkies who want to do the same. Another issue is, we can’t forget about the other sports besides football.

While down south, especially in Title-town, the only sport that matters is football, I’m sure there are some people who would love to watch Stephen Curry or Bryce Harper play in a live game, rather than having to settle for their TV screens all the time; but don’t get me wrong, we live and breathe college football.

There are pros and cons either way but there is a single factor that truly answers our question. Alabama doesn’t have the money. On one hand we’re not Mississippi, where they have a quality college team (Rebels fans would say otherwise…Roll Tide), pro teams, a large city, or the economic chutzpah; but the state and any of the cities Birmingham, Montgomery or Mobile don’t have the funds to sponsor a team or the facilities to host others.

Currently, Alabama is the most populated state that doesn’t house any pro teams, therefore if fans cross their fingers enough, we may be next in line, yet it’s not looking good. All the surrounding cities teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, etc. don’t have high attendance for the games. If this continues, it’s very unlikely Alabama will receive a pro team in the near future.

If people are just aching to get out of collegiate sports, which is not likely when you have the national champions in your backyard, there are the minor league and premier teams around the state, including the Birmingham Barons baseball, Birmingham Bull ice hockey, or AFC Mobile soccer.

Whether sports fans look at it as a good thing, or bad thing there is always room open for discussion, and I’m surprised ESPN or other sports talk shows have not picked up this topic for debate recently. It’s interesting to see people’s views on the matter, yet there is one thing that reigns true and is long lasting in the future, and that’s Nick Saban and Alabama football.

So for now, fans, put a smile on your face, stick to college sports, and keep screaming Roll Tide.

Cover Image Credit: Larry Miller / Flickr

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