Let's Talk About The Vegas Golden Knights

Let's Talk About The Vegas Golden Knights

Las Vegas, you are finally on the sports map.
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How many teams in their first season have made it to the championship? Growing up in Mobile I know that all the Saints fans had t0 wait 43 years before the Saints won their first Super Bowl and Alabama didn’t win their first championship until 1925 (30 years after their first season). SB Nation states the Golden Knights are the first expansion team in any of the four professional sports to win their division in their inaugural season. Let that sink in for a minute. How many teams have always been dominant in their sport? Alabama wasn’t always winning championships and the New England Patriots didn’t always make the playoffs.

To see a team in their first year make it to the championship is huge even if I am still losing sleep to see if my team will make the Stanley Cup.

I still remember when the Houston Texans played their first season in 2002. In their first draft the team drafted David Carr to be their quarterback of the future but in his rookie season he finished 4-12 as a starter and was sacked 76 times. Many first-year teams aren’t expected to do much their first year but the team isn’t supposed to look like a bad idea by the businessmen who worked for years to bring a team to the community. For the Las Vegas Golden Knights, it is a little different though. While they aren’t the NHL team to reach Stanley Cup Final in their first season they have a chance to accomplish something that hasn’t been done before.

In 2015 the NHL opened up for prospective owners to bid on expansion teams and in July of that year Bill Foley (who would go on to become one of the owners of the team) submitted a bid for an expansion team in Las Vegas. In 2016 after a long competition with Quebec the expansion team was awarded to Las Vegas and the team would immediately begin playing games during the 2017-18 season. The Knights became the first major professional sports franchise in Las Vegas and the first NHL expansion team since 2000.

On November 22, 2016, the name was revealed as the Vegas Golden Knights.

Originally owner Bill Foley wanted to honor his alma mater the Army Black Knights with the name but decided it would cause too many legal issues. Before settling on the Golden Knights the other options were Desert Knights or Silver Knights. Ultimately they chose the Vegas Golden Knights to represent Las Vegas as their first professional team and on April 13, 2017, Gerard Gallant was hired as the first head coach.

After hiring the coach and taking care of the front office it was time to draft the team. In the 2017 NHL expansion draft, 30 players were drafted from other teams to be the first players on the Vegas Golden Knights. In an expansion draft current teams are allowed to protect seven forwards, three defencemen, and one goaltender or, one goaltender and eight skaters regardless of position. Of the 30 players drafted, only five remained on the team that made it to the Stanley Cup.

At the end of the first year in the NHL, the Knights led their division with a record of 51-24 with the Anaheim Ducks in second with a record of 44-25. At the beginning of the season, the Knights were at a 500-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup. As someone who isn’t the biggest follower of hockey, I could’ve told you that either the Penguins, Lightning, Predators or Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup just based on their standing in years past. However, we all saw how that ended and sports can be unpredictable.

Whether they play the Lightning in the Stanley Cup, let’s give it up for the Vegas Golden Knights. Las Vegas, you are finally on the sports map.

Cover Image Credit: @vegasgoldenknights / Instagram

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11 Things Fastpitch Softball Players Know To Be True

You'll never remember your Facebook password, but you'll remember softball cheers for the rest of your life.
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There comes a time in every little girl's life when she must come to terms with the fact that she will never play Major League Baseball. So, she turns to softball. From tee-ball to coach-pitch to travel ball, to playing on your school team, softball has played a crucial role in your life. It taught you the value of teamwork, the importance of sunscreen, and introduced you to your best friends. For former and current fastpitch players alike, these truths are universal.

1. The rays of a thousand suns couldn't even out your tan lines.

Tan arms and a V-neck tan line is the unofficial uniform of the softball player. Years after you stop playing softball, at 2 p.m. on the second Monday of every month when the sun is shining through your bathroom window at a 90-degree angle, you'll swear you can still see the slightest hint of a racerback tan line between your shoulders. Good luck finding a flattering sundress!

2. Pitchers are a different breed of human.

It's a tale as old as time: You saw that the pitchers got to skip all of the intense drills at practice so they can go off to the side with the catcher to chat and have a catch for an hour and you said, "I gotta get in on that." So, your dad paid for your pitching lessons, you mimicked Jennie Finch as best as you could, and three years later, you're contemplating changing your name just to forget about that time you spent as a pitcher. Successful pitchers must have no other interests, future career goals, or a family who loves them because pitching just destroys everything you believe in. If you do survive being a pitcher, congratulations, because you are now fully equipped with nerves of steel that will allow you to conquer the worst that life has to throw at you.

3. An 8 a.m. game on Sunday means you had a really bad Saturday.

Where is the most tranquil and somber place that people often go to on Sunday mornings to reflect on their wrongdoings? No, not church. It's the softball field. When you have to be at the field before the sun, you start thinking irrationally, like "Maybe if I used the Demarini instead of the Stealth in the third inning of the second game yesterday we would've only lost by six runs instead of seven which would have put us in the winner's bracket!" Have fun running a lap for every error you made the day before.

4. If the other team is wearing shorts, you know you're going to win.

There's just so much leg! Shorts and softball go together like ketchup and strawberry jelly, as in, that's what your knees are going to look like if you even attempt to slide wearing a pair of shorts. Don't even get me started on the tan line from mid thigh to mid shin. You know the one. This is the big leagues, ladies, put on some pants.

5. If you aren't dirty after a game, you didn't play hard enough.

If you don't come home from a tournament, look in the mirror, and go, "Wow I got a good tan today!" only to take a shower and find out that it was all just dirt, then you probably missed that slide sign from the third base coach when you were rounding second.

6. Cheers are a necessary evil.

Cheering in softball is like having a dead-end job that you hate; it's unfulfilling, robs you of your dignity, and tires you out, but you have to do it anyway. You'll never remember your Facebook password, your parents' anniversary, or that you left your laundry in the washer, but you'll remember softball cheers for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you fall into the water and bump your little head like that damn froggy.

7. Pre-wrap is a hot commodity in the dugout.

"I'll trade you a bag of Ranch sunflower seeds for your light blue pre wrap."

"No way, I had to get my mom to drive me to three different Sports Authority's last night just to find this color!"

8. You may get along with other teams between games, but they are not your friends on the field.

It's perfectly normal to meet another player in line for the bathroom at a tournament, compliment her on her cheetah print hair ribbon, and then trash talk her on the field half an hour later. You can make it up to her by giving her a high five and a poignant smile in the handshake line after the game.

9. If you get hit by a pitch and there aren't lace marks in your skin, it's really just a waste of time.

You love being able to showcase your bruises at school on Monday when all of your non-softball friends ask, "Does it hurt to get hit with a fastball?" and you can coolly and calmly answer, "Nah." Bruises up your street cred, and lace marks are just bonus points. So, when you don't have any stitching embedded in your skin, you wish you could just have the chance to bat. Take your base.

10. When the bat meets the ball juuuuuust right, it is the most powerful feeling in the world.

Your dad was right when he told you to keep your head down when you swing. You always thought that the "sweet spot" of the bat was just a myth until you hit your first home run. The rush of adrenaline will make you feel so powerful that you'll try to see if you can pick up a car in the parking lot with your bare hands after the game, but you still can't.

11. You will always consider your team to be your best friends.

After spending every weekend together, you and your team create a bond so close that it borders on uncomfortable. You may take out your frustrations on each other from time to time like when someone steps on the freshly chalked line before the game, or when you all fight over the ball with the best, most prominent laces for your warm up toss. But at the end of the day, your team will always be the biggest bunch of weirdos you know, and that is irreplaceable.

Cover Image Credit: Art Mad

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Why We Should All Feel Bad For Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant put his career on the line during the NBA finals due to his love for basketball and the team. The decisions was very brave and courageous, but he was wronged in his return by the team.

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Kevin Durant has had a hurt calf muscle for a few weeks. He was cleared to play Monday night ahead of game 5 when the Warriors were facing elimination on Monday night. The odd part of this was he was finally cleared to play by the team doctors when the Warriors were on the verge of losing the championship. The doctors said there is no way he could reinjure his calf, but instead he blew out his Achilles. I have been a critical person of Kevin for his basketball decisions, but this one gave me a huge amount of respect for him and I salute and appreciate his passion for the game.

The problem that I have with this is I find it wrong that he was cleared despite wanting to play. I respect Kevin for wanting to play and not let the fans or his teammates down and I understand his choice. He also felt better, but that does not mean he was ready to go play in an NBA Finals game without much practice or physical activity. The move in which he made that hurt his leg was a normal basketball move that he obviously was not ready for, so many people are thinking he hurt his Achilles instead of his calf in the first place which is much more serious.

The team doctors and management allowed him to play and it will have some impact on his career because he will miss a year and the Achilles injuries are proven to be the worst type of injury for a basketball player. The player loses athleticism, their vertical jump decreases, their ability to play as many minutes per game. Many players have suffered Achilles injuries in many sports and their game no matter what sport was never the same.

Kobe Bryant was a player who suffered an Achilles injury and he never played the same near the end of his career. He was never the same player. Dominique Wilkins was another player who suffered the injury in the 90s was able to come back and still have a few good years left. Kevin is 30 years old and will be entering his 13th season when he returns in one year and will most likely miss the entire 2020-2021 basketball season. He is a free agent this summer and is due to be paid nearly 200 million and there are many teams who love his game. He will still get paid a max contract despite his injury but it is possible he will never play as well as he did.

Kawhi Leonard was a player for the San Antonio Spurs last year when he came down with an injury. He was cleared to play in the middle of the season and he did, but he felt he was not playing to his potential. He then went to a personal doctor with no connection to the team and got a second opinion on his injury and they did not clear him to play. Kawhi was advised to keep resting and rehabbing his thigh injury and the Spurs kept insisting he play. This situation just goes to show you how the team does what is in the best interest of them instead of the player and that is wrong. I hope more athletes see this situation and try to avoid playing injured so they can get paid as they truly deserve because they work hard to be who they are.

Kevin Durant is a true competitor and has great love, heart, and passion for the game and I respect him playing through his injury. It is truly a shame what happened to top him because the basketball world needs him because he is one of the best players in the league and always competing for titles. The basketball world wishes him the best and we are all hoping he defies the odds and comes back as the all-time great player that he once was because he deserves it for putting it all on the line.

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