St. John’s Could Possibly Never Win Again

St. John’s Could Possibly Never Win Again

No, but seriously, what's up with SJU?
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After feasting on the bottom of the college basketball barrel, St. John’s has finally had the opportunity to play against highly competitive teams, and the results have not been promising. After starting the year 10-2 with losses only to Missouri and 16 Arizona State, St. John’s entered conference play as hopeful underdogs in an already stacked Big East conference. However, SJU has started the second half of the season with nine consecutive losses, effectively placing them in the basement of the Big East. To make matters worse, the Red Storm’s whopping win total of 0 doesn’t seem to be going up anytime soon.

When it comes to fundamental basketball, St. John’s looks uncoordinated and lost on the court. The Red Storm is ranked in the bottom 20% of all college basketball teams across nearly every statistical category including points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, and of course, wins. And while the absence of starting guard Marcus Lovett due to a left knee injury has certainly contributed to St. John’s struggles, the rest of the team simply looks absent as well. With Lovett sidelined for the remainder of the year, St. John's looks more like “Shamorie Ponds and four other guys” than a Division I Basketball team.

Coach Chris Mullin’s roster looks like a ham-fisted, slapped-together mess night-in and night-out as players who once showed promise like Kassoum Yakwe and Bashir Ahmed have quickly faded into the depths of sustained mediocrity.

With 10 games remaining over the next 6 weeks, it is not outlandish to suggest that St. John’s could lose every single contest from here on out. The bulk of SJU’s remaining schedule comes against teams they’ve proven they can’t beat, as well as teams that are nearly guaranteed to beat them. St. John’s has proven that they cannot beat, let alone compete with, 19 Seton Hall, 1 Villanova, Providence, DePaul, and 11 Xavier. And although plenty of games have looked close on the scoreboard, the Red Storm has looked consistently sluggish, sloppy, and uninspiring.

In addition to the aforementioned Big East opponents that St. John’s has already played, there are still four games on the schedule against Butler and Marquette. And while SJU hasn’t played either of those teams, it’s not hard to see that even the middle of the pack in the Big East is miles ahead of St. John’s. While KenPom.com ranks Butler and Marquette at 36 and 42, respectively, the biggest difference between St. John’s and literally every other team in the Big East is just one conference win.

With nine of the 10 bases covered for St. John’s and their quest to win just one game, the only contest yet to be mentioned is a matchup in early February at Madison Square Garden against 5 Duke. When you take reality into account, it’s safe to chalk this game up as a loss. If St. John’s looks hopeless against DePaul and Georgetown, how on Earth could they even come close to putting up a fight against Coach Krzyzewski and Duke?

According to ESPN, St. John’s is listed as the underdog in all 10 of their remaining 10 games. A team that was once projected to compete in the upper echelons of the Big East is now struggling to even compete for one single victory. When you combine a major injury to a key playmaker in Lovett with missing pieces across the court, St. John’s has looked continuously uninspiring throughout the course of the conference play portion of the schedule.

Even during the first half of the season, St. John’s looked frighteningly questionable as the Red Storm squeaked by in a few nail-biting wins over Iona, UCF, and New Orleans; teams that SJU should have beaten handily.

Things have been churning in a constant downward spiral and at this point, St. John’s would be lucky to touch the tournament with a 10-foot pole, and the closest the Red Storm will get to playing in March is the regular season finale on March 3rd against Providence. And for many fans, that date cannot come soon enough.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Thank You, Swimming, For Not Giving Up On Me When I Gave Up On You

It's something I cherish, even if it isn't going to be a part of my life forever.

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We choose not to think about it. It's hard to comprehend the countless hours we've dedicated, the accomplished goals, the unaccomplished goals, the heartbreak, and the victory. We try not to let the highs get to0 high or the lows get too low. Our parents have spent likely too much money on equipment, training and pasta dinners for carb overloads.

While our dreams transpired from being an Olympic gold medalist to somehow making it to the college level our passion was unwavering.

Passion is the thing that never went away.

When I was six years old I never considered exactly why I dedicated my afternoons and weekends to swimming back and forth over and over again. Every day, I jumped on the block high off of ring pops and pixie stick sugar and raced my heart out for a blue ribbon.

As I got older, the blue ribbon wasn't enough so I stopped eating candy before my events and even started drinking some water before I got on the block (I think I even warmed up a time or two). When I started high school life was no longer as cookie cutter as it was for me at six years old and I began to question the three hours I spent at the pool every afternoon. I even began to realize that football games, date nights out with the 16-year-old who had a car and girls nights with my friends consistently trumped the concept of swim practice.

My progress reflected my new found interests and I quickly began to loathe the sport that was once my very reason for waking up in the morning. So why didn't I quit? I honestly have no idea and I couldn't justify it if I tried. I hated everything about the sport but I couldn't bring myself to throw in the towel completely. I could blame it on my coaches, I could blame it on my parents and I could blame it on the 16-year-old boy with a car.

Really, the only person I can blame is myself.

In the midst of my highly hormonal teenage years, I was more than capable of identifying anything and everything that could possibly take the blame for my increasing times, destroyed mindset and negative attitude. I hated my mother for forcing me to go to practice every day. I hated my coaches for not believing in me. I hated my teammates for not hating swimming as much as I did.

Looking back, my mother still saw me as the 6-year-old girl with a ring pop in one hand and a blue ribbon in the other and she blamed herself for my depleting passion and was desperate for it to return. If I was my coaches, I probably wouldn't have believed in me either because I surely didn't believe in myself. As for my teammates, many of them started swimming much later than I did, and I now understand why they may not have had the same resentment and struggles that I was feeling at the time. I realize now that all of these issues stemmed from one major internal issue: I didn't believe in myself.

I tried to fool myself into it a few times. I'd take a deep breath, climb on the block, tell myself I could make it through the race and touch the wall without looking up at the clock because I already knew the result was not one I wanted to see. I let my times reflect my self-worth which was ignorant because it is virtually impossible to compete well when you do not believe in yourself.

I pretended to let the comments about my times being slower roll off my shoulders, but they etched themselves in my mind and echoed through every race I swam. I pretended not to care that my coach forgot to get my splits on my race, but for some reason the next time I raced I didn't feel particularly inclined to put my best foot forward. I was desperate to love the sport that had once been the source of my happiness, and the heartbreak that came with my new found hatred for it was overbearing.

I was trying so hard to love it, but I was struggling to make it through.

There are days where I do not touch the times I did as a 12-year-old girl and there are days where I choose a date night over swim practice. Sometimes, I even turn off my alarm in the morning and pretend that I forgot to set it just because I don't feel like getting out of bed for practice.

There are meets where I add 10 seconds and there are meets where tears fill my goggles in the warm down pool. There are coaches who still don't believe in me and there are "friends" who still laugh at my times. But, there are coaches who do believe in me and there are friends who do celebrate my success and unfortunately, both of these realities go hand in hand.

So no, I am no Olympic gold medalist and in three short years, swimming will likely just be a memory of mine. But, it will be a memory I cherish and a memory I love and I couldn't ask for much more than that.

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